Starring: Irrfan Khan, Saba Qamar
The movie Hindi Medium appears to demonstrate aptly the problem that is being faced by every common man nowadays. Actually, scratch that. The problem haunting every parent in India today is how to get their child admitted to a good school. A school where the child will learn how to interact with the classy people around him so that he is not socially awkward. So that he can fit right into the herds of standardized people you watch walking around the streets of suburban India. If you think it’s a mistake that I didn’t mention anything about education of these prospective schools; it’s not. There is no attention given to studies in schools nowadays. All focus has been shifted entirely to getting the child ready for the materialistic and superficial world that he’ll have to enter once he gets done with his so-called first-rate education. And English is a critical part of that first-rate education. In this evolving Indian society, a person’s fluency and comfort in English is taken as a mark of the class to which he belongs. Naturally, a ‘Hindi medium’ tag makes one illiterate and dumb in the eyes of the beholder.
How this supposed taboo of our society gets portrayed in this movie is something I’m excited to see. So far, the prospects look very good.
The trailer starts with a spotlight on the movie’s theme: Getting a simple middle-class Indian couple’s daughter into a good school. The father Irrfan Khan is a Hindi-Medium product and the mother Saba Qamar an English enthusiast. The race starts with them trying to get their daughter into a well reputed school at any cost. They are ready to do anything to save their daughter from the awkwardness and problems that one faces in our society if he isn’t well versed in the English language.
Initially as they are anticipating a renowned school to accept their child, they try to match up to the standards of the other people that would be sending their children to those five star schools. But when they find out that their daughter hasn’t been accepted at any of those schools they are forced to change tactics and apply through a Gareeb (poor) quota. All of this, I’m sure leads ultimately to the child getting admission in one of the schools after all the hardships the lead couple has to go through. A wonderful climax will surely await them at the end though.
All in all, I believe this film will be packed with light-hearted entertainment with the right amount of dark comedy forcing the laughing audience to turn back and look at their lives. The cheekiness of Saba Qamar and legendary acting of Irrfan Khan will surely make the public realize that what is happening in today’s education system is extortion at best and a systemic degradation of the society at the worst.
The Indian Education
Although a lighthearted take on the issue, the movie will undoubtedly depict how difficult it has become today, to build a decent future for your child. Majorly, because it’s less about the aptitude of the child now and more about how deep the pockets of the parents go. In this age where frivolous and never-ending monetary requirements are put up by the schools every day, it is almost impossible to believe that the students are being given a quality education anywhere.
With the corporatization of the education system (schools and colleges alike), there is an increasing focus on the amount of revenue shelled out than the number of toppers and inquisitive learners. This extra income, of course, comes from forcing the parents to purchase every academic and non-academic requirement for the child from the institute itself. On top of it, making it compulsory to pay for numerous unnecessary things like SUPW, Development fund, outdoor excursions etc.
In this world of brands only the name matters and nothing else. Same is with a school.
If the parents for some reason can’t come up with the money for this stuff, the student is ridiculed by the teachers. They are made to realize of their strata in the society by other over-privileged students. This ultimately leads up to low self-esteem and sometimes depression at a young age.
The Irrfan Khan Effect
After movies like The Lunchbox, Talvar, and the most recent Madaari, Irrfan Khan –atleast for the time being- seems to have turned religiously towards the non-mainstream cinema, to which he has been devoted since the beginning of his career. Whether it be the short but captivating performance in Haider, the regal but mischievous outing alongside Tom Hanks in Inferno, or the simple and perfectly natural emotions shown in The Lunchbox; Irrfan Khan has only matured over the years and shown us a new part of his acting soul with every movie. The intellectual cinema running parallel to mainstream Bollywood is sure to get a boost from these unconventional excursions of his. It certainly adds to the charisma as well as expectations of the movie Hindi Medium.
The commercial success of niche movies like Airlift, Rustom, and Neerja in the past year has strengthened my confidence that Bollywood is slowly but steadily moving towards a kind of cinema that’ll make the films being made relevant to what’s actually happening in India. If not anything else, it certainly will be a welcome relief from movies, which although entertaining and escapist, have nothing to do with what the common man goes through every day.
Also check out: Naam Shabana Movie Review