Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hindi Medium : Movie Review

Hindi Medium vs. English Medium!
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Reviewer’s Thumb Mark

The film ‘Hindi Medium’ is hilarious and is a satirical take on the Indian Psyche of feeling elitist and progressive when one spouts English as a medium to converse irrespective of the people, situation and need around them. Colonization under the British Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries spread the language around the world. This led to the use of English as a lingua franca, where people with different languages and dialects started communicating with each other in English. Researchers also say that there is a close link between language and power. The USA with its huge dominance in almost all fields is the driving force behind English in the world today.

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Though, the film doesn’t venture into what I wrote above but it still raises many pertinent questions to analyze the reasons behind our penchant to speak English. While watching Director Saket Chaudhary’s ‘Hindi Medium’ it reminded me of the funny dialogue of Amitabh Bachchan from ‘Namak Halaal’ – “E lo kar lo baat. Arey aisi angrezi ave hain ke I can leave angrezi behind. I can talk English, I can walk English, I can laugh English because English is a funny language. Bhairon becomes barren and barren becomes Bhairon because their minds are very narrow …” Here, in Hindi Medium Irrfan Khan brings ample amount of humour through his dialogue delivery and acting skills. He is well complemented by the actress Saba Qamar as his wife who is a bit more qualified than her husband, a successful garment business man who sells in Chandni Chowk the original copies of garments designed by leading fashion designers in the country. 

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‘Hindi Medium’ written by Zeenat Lakhani and directed by Saket Chaudhary is a remake of the Malayalam film ‘Salt Mango Tree’ released in 2015 which is also a remake of 2014 Bengali Movie Ramdhanu. I haven’t seen the original one but I have watched the Malayalam film ‘Salt mango Tree’ where in Biju Menon has also essayed a fantastic role as the lead protagonist which was well appreciated. Those who have seen the Malayalam film may agree with me that there are scenes where you cannot stop comparing Biju Menon and Irrfan as actors not in terms of style but in terms of the effortlessness they bring on screen in essaying such a role.
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Though, Hindi Medium as a film is successful in keeping you engaged throughout the film with its funny situation and socially relevant message about how our education system has succumbed to commercialization but what needs to be noted is that when the film ventures into portraying unrealistic situations to convey its message the tempo dips. The couple shifting from Chandni Chowk to South Delhi’s posh residential area and from there to a slum area all in the name of getting an admission in one of the elitist schools in Delhi ‘Delhi Grammar School’ where Amrita Singh is the principal becomes too difficult to fathom. Zeenat and Saket could have made some more creative efforts to make certain scenes and dialogues more realistic and relatable.Deepak Dobriyal as Shyam Prakash a daily wage worker plays his role excellently. He evokes pain and empathy through his act. Tillotama Shome as an Educational Consultant is very good.

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In short, Hindi Medium highlights the plight of the education system in our country and the impacts of Lord Macaulay’s sinister plans to destabilize India and Indianness. Though it ends being preachy and over dramatic yet it is worth watching. But before that, go through what Lord Macaulay said about India in 1835 in British Parliament – “I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation”.

.Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 3.5 /5

Cast: Irrfan Khan (Raj Batra), Saba Qamar (Mita), Deepak Dobriyal (Shyam Prakash), Tillotama Shome, Swati Das (Tulsi), Dishita Sehgal (Piya), Hiwale ( young Raj Batra), Amrita Singh (School Principal), Sanjay Suri, Neha Dhupia

Genre: Comedy Family Drama

Director: Saket Chaudhary

Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Dinesh Vijan

Written by: Zeenat Lakhani

Music by: Sachin-Jigar; Background Score by Amar Mohile

Edited by: A. Sreekar Prasad

Production Company: T-Series, Madddock Films

Distributor: T-Series

Release Date: 19th May, 2017

Language: Hindi

Friday, May 5, 2017

CIA: Comrade in America (Movie Review)

CIA: Love Can Make You Cross Borders!
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Reviewer’s Thumb Mark

Satyajit Ray once said – “The director is the only person who knows what the film is about”.

If I take a cue from his quote I doubt whether Amal Neerad  himself did know what the film he is making about here in this case of ‘Comrade in America (CIA). The name and some of the early trailers which were released are misleading. It makes one feel that it has something to do with revolution and the erstwhile communist leaders like Che Guevara. Rather the film CIA reduces these communist leaders like Lenin, Karl Marx and Che Guevara into caricatures and put them into funny scenes which has nothing to do with its ideology and history.

CIA is about a young man called Aji Mathew aka Ajipan from Pala who has left leanings and is a staunch student leader of his town. Aji Mathew is a hero in his college and among his friends as he is found being approached by students to settle scores and solve issues. Ajipan and his father are at loggerheads politically but have an untold understanding and liking for each other which goes beyond their political squabbles. Comrade Aji Mathew falls in love with a US returned girl Sarah who leaves him and goes back to US under family pressure. The rest is Comrade Ajipan’s adventurous travel to the US to find his love.
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The story begins with a scene where DYFI (Democartic Youth Federation of India) a youth wing of Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI (M)) leading an agitation against the finance minister for reasons known only to Amal Neerad the Director and Shibin Francis the Script Writer. Amal Neerad and Shibin Francis fails to develop completely any of the characters they parade on screen and ends up delivering an under cooked film which is laughable and trashy.

CIA claims to dedicate this film to millions of migrants in the world and does a veiled attack on US President Trump’s proposed border wall that would eventually stop animals and people that have migrated for centuries across the US’s southern border with Mexico. Is it a formula cleverly devised by the current filmmakers to piggyback some current social and political issues which they superficially and with least sincerity turn into stories with the false hope of making it into a runaway success? The very recent movie ‘The Great Father’ of Mammooty was a highly irresponsible and insensitive movie made on child abuse and rape. These movies ridicule and reduce sensitive and socially relevant issues by superficial treatments and less researched story telling. Raveena Tandon’s ‘Maatr’ is another movie that is inspired by the Nirbhaya case that tries to piggy ride a burning issue and reduces it into heroism with some absurd and unrealistic scenes.
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It’s high time that the current lot of filmmakers become more sensitive and responsible in at least picking up social issues when they decide to make them into films.
Having said this there are movies like ‘Takeoff’ which made a tremendous impact on the viewers by portraying the political issue of addressing the ordeal of Indian nurses in Tikrit in Iraq and their rescue from there to India. This directorial debut of editor turned filmmaker Mahesh Narayan received all round appreciation for its sensible handling of the incident.

In short, Dulquer fans can throng the theatres to watch their hero perform with utmost ease but unfortunately in a nonsensical movie.  The girls Karthika Muraldharan and Priyanka Nair in the movie have nothing to do and are neither good nor memorable. Siddique as Dulquer’s father steal the show by his act and that is the only relief in the movie. Comrade Lenin, Karl Marx and Che Guevara might be planning to make a comeback to avenge this political disaster of theirs in CIA (Pun Intended).

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 2 /5

Cast: Dulquer Salman, Karthika Muralidharan, Priyanka Nair, Chandini Sreedharan, Soubin Shahir, Jinu Joseph, Dileesh Pothan, John Vijay, Vishnu Gopal Nair, Nandamuri Balakrishna

Genre: Rom Com

Director: Amal Neerad

Producer: Ajmal Khalid

Written by: Shibin Francis

Music by: Gopi Sunder

Cinematography: Renadive

Edited by: Praveen Prabhakar

Production Company: Amal Neerad Productions

Distributor: A & A Release

Release Date: 5th May, 2017

Duration: 135 Minutes

Language: Malayalam