Banners: T-Series Films, Maddock Films
Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Dinesh Vijan
Director: Saket Chaudhary
Cast: Irrfan, Saba Qamar, Deepak Dobriyal, Amrita Singh, Swati Das, Neha Dhupia, Sanjay Suri, Tillotama Shome, Sumit Gulati, Mallika Dua, Dishita Sehgal, Delzad Hiwale, Rajesh Sharma
Writers: Zeenat Lakhani (story & screenplay), Saket Chaudhary (story & screenplay), Amitosh Nagpal (dialogue)
The film has a generous dose of humour and perfectly weaves emotion around each character and situation. As the climax approaches, you learn a great deal about the real value of money and friendship. The climax makes you ponder some poignant questions such as: is a momentary feeling the sum of your experiences? It goes without saying – but we’ll say it anyway – that the characters are very easy to relate to, bumping up the connection you have for the film.
Credit for this goes to the writers Saket Chaudhary, Zeenat Lakhani and Amitosh Nagpal, and the director Saket Chaudhary. In sum, Hindi Medium is a perfect example of what happens when flawless performances meet quality writing and presentation.
Here’s the story: Raj Batra (Irrfan), a boutique owner in Chandani Chowk, Delhi, lives happily with his childhood sweetheart and now wife Mita (Saba Qamar) and daughter Pia (Dishta Sehgal). Raj is a simple guy whereas Mita is fashionable and an extrovert. Mita wants to give their daughter a private school education and suggests that they move house from Chandni Chowk to a posh South Delhi neighbourhood, so that they can up their social quotient.
A dominating Mita gets her way and the family moves to the upscale Vasant Vihar locality. The couple tries hard to fit into upper crust Delhi society and even enrol in a class that coaches parents on school interviews for their children. But they are not greeted warmly by the residents of their housing society, where the ladies refuse to let their kids play with Pia as she speaks in Hindi.
The couple wants Pia to get admission to one of the best schools in Delhi and, despite their best efforts, they fail. Later, they find out that Pia could get admission in the RTE (Right to Education) quota in a posh school, and so they decide to act poor. What follows forms the crux of the film.
There are many scenes that are unforgettable, scenes where Mita, in order to make her point about their daughter’s future, always ends up with the fear of depression and drugs (hilarious); the scene where Raj is standing in line to get the school forms (too funny); when Raj ends up dancing with Pia, his daughter, in the midst of a high-society party hosted by Mita (howlarious); Sham Prakash helping Raj get the money for Pia’s admission (heart-wrenching); Tulsi and Sham Prakash teaching Raj and Mita how to be poor (laugh-riot), and the list just goes on.
Writer-director Saket Chaudhary has done a noteworthy job. He has done his homework with the script and characters. It is evident that as the writer of the film, Chaudhary knows how to handle delicate scenes beautifully.
Chaudhary is first rate, from script to casting to direction to extracting the right expressions from each character to execution. He and his co-writer Zeenat Lakhani take a bow!!! Each character sketch is splendid and the scenes are wonderfully detailed. The film is an enjoyable journey. Dialogue is simple yet superb. The film carries a profound message, which is showcased remarkably well. From the education system to how money cannot buy happiness, the film is superb when it comes to making a point without being preachy.
Music and background score is another asset of this film. Not only is it apt but it flows with the proceedings. Cinematography by Laxman Utekar is marvellous. Editing by A Sreekar Prasad is to the point. With a runtime of 133 minutes, there is rarely a dull moment on the screen.
Performance-wise, Irrfan yet again proves that he’s a powerhouse of talent. From his body language, his spot-on Delhi dialect, to his mere presence, he makes you smile and makes you laugh and is truly impeccable. Saba Qamar oozes confidence in her performance. She also looks stunning throughout. Deepak Dobriyal delivers a bravura performance. Amrita Singh is brilliant. Swati Das acts superbly. Child actor Dishita Sehgal is adorable and performs wonderfully. Tillotama Shome plays her part with panache. The other actors, from Neha Dhupia, Sanjay Suri, Rajesh Sharma, Sumit Gulati, Mallika Dua and Delzad Hiwale, impress with their parts. The rest of the cast supports well.
Verdict: A film NOT to be missed! Hit.