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
Release Date: 19th May, 2017