Movie Reviews

Hindi Medium Movie Review: It Has The Potential To Crack The Baahubali Code!

Starring: Irrfan, Saba Qamar, Deepak Dobriyal

Directed by: Saket Chowdhary

Rating: ****1/2 (4.5 Stars)

Hindi Medium Movie Review: Irrfan Khan was last seen taking on  corrupt forces in  Madaari. He is back , this time to question the  educational system in our country whereby  children  are inducted into  posh English-medium schools only after a ridiculous amount of time money and energy is invested into ensuring the child’s future.

Irrfan + Social Issue, bound to work. He is known  to be a thinking actor with very definite views of politics and culture.

The trauma that parents face is here alchemized into something smile-inducing and heartwarming, something  quite  magical in  its ability to hit us where it hurts the most without damaging our sense of  self-worth.Not that director Saket Choudhary trivializes the pain of parenting as it crosses the hurdles of schooling protocol.

Saket’s earlier two films the delightful Pyar Ke Side Effects and the equally delightful follow-up Shaadi Ke Side Effects revealed a mature though not a self-conscious pamphleteering social commentator with his fingers firmly on the pulse of contemporary issues. If Saket could make Mallika Sherawat remove her lingerie on screen without making us flinch he could also get away with Vidya Balan trying to pass off her husband’s child as her lover’s just to get even.

To his credit in Hindi  Medium  director Saket Chowdhary does not allow proceedings to get preachy screechy or downright hysterical. Most issue-based films can’t help lecturing down on the audience.Saket eases  you  into the life of a terribly endearing couple—lovable with all their whims excesses and fancies, armaan and Armanis– played by Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar . Together, Irrfan and Saba make the couple’s journey through the amazing contradiction and anomalies of the schooling system look not only credible and real but also very engaging.The writing is sharp-witted and the verbal exchanges are  topped with an extra layer of spice just to drive in the point.

Irrfan looks so  married to Saba it is not funny. His sexual cravings and  his ceaseless adoration of  a wife who is often unreasonable, stubborn and manipulative, are remarkably subdued yet savage. The way he picks on her words to get his way in an argument, or inversely the way she manipulates his thoughts and words to her own advantage are lingering evidence  of some slyly skilled writing that secretes wisdom about marital tricks  that couples play on one another not to betray  or cheat on the spouse. But just to keep the spirits high in  marriage.

And watch out for the grossly underused monstrously talented DeepalDobriyal. His turn as an economically challenged but forever cheerful parent would make the most frosty heart melt.

Ditto the film. Hindi Medium is never weighed down by tedium. It breezes through  a difficult satirical terrain with a nose for the sunnier side of everyday drudgery.

It would be unfair to reveal more in  this astutely woven yarn on the adventures of a rather wise  child’s parents in gyan-dom. Suffice it to say, director Saket Choudhary is all through on firm ground as he negotiates his way through the contradictory pulls and pushes of an education system that fosters duplicity and encourages complicity with corrupt elements.

The incidents and anecdotes fill up the spaces not just in the narrative but also in the audiences’ hearts.

While Irrfan is in fine fettle, making light of and  shining bright on what is essentially a very serious social issue,and displaying  comic timing that Govinda would envy(if only he was around to envy anyone) Saba Qamar succeeds in being her very accomplished co-star’s support system without sweating it out in the dramatic scenes.But her presence is not as bankable as one expected. Nonetheless she holds her place in front of the bang-on Khan. And that’s saying a lot.

Among the female actors it’s the neglected Tillotama Shome who shines as a school-admission counselor. Her attitude of  superciliousness towards the couple from Chandni Chowk who have migrated to Vasant Vihar to seem elitist, is deliciously vituperative.But Amrita Singh as an evil school principal hyperventilates through a sketchy role.

Also, while we are on the female  characters, why is the actress SwatiDas playing Deepak Dobriyal’s wife pasted with black polish? Isn’t this stereotyping  of the poor as darkskinned  out of character in a  film that successfully demolishes many sacred cows and wholeheartedly questions the imbalances in our social and educational system with  a hefty dose of humanism and humour?

Hindi Medium is a well-told parable of middleclass aspirations, scattered with moments that every parents would recognize with a combination of pleasure and dread. It is a  solid weekend entertainer with a message for every parent who has ever suffered the traumatic jitters  of  preparing to get a child admitted  into school.

Hindi Medium has  balls and long legs. Should go a long way.

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