'Hindi Medium' Movie Review

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Hindi Medium is the name of actor Irrfan Khan’s much awaited comedy-drama film about a Chandni Chowk couple trying desperately to get their daughter admitted to an English medium school in Delhi. The film is about their struggles amidst the widespread corruption and nepotism prevalent in the admission process. The Saket Chaudhary-directed film co-stars Saba Qamar, Deepak Dobriyal, and Amrita Singh. The film also features cameo appearances from Sanjay Suri and Neha Dhupia.

While Hindi Medium has a noble idea at its heart, it unfortunately fails in its endeavour to propagate it. Let’s look at the various factors that work against the film:

1. Film tries to preach in the name of entertainment

It is a cardinal sin for a film to try and preach in the name of entertainment. Hindi Medium loses its path half way owing to a preachy narrative that gets worse at the story progresses ahead. Towards the end it feels like some public service announcement than a movie.

2. Weak ending that hampers the movie’s potential

Hindi medium climaxes in an ending that appears to be straight out of some street play. Everyone suddenly appears to be morally transformed--a facet that greatly reduces the movie’s level of conviction and plausibility.  

3. Irrfan Khan’s failure to look convincing as a Chandni Chowk businessman

We all are aware that Irrfan Khan is a gifted actor with remarkable range. His exploits are not just limited to Bollywood but he has essayed pivotal roles in Hollywood blockbusters like Jurassic World and Inferno as well as international productions like Slumdog Millionaire (winner of 8 Oscars) and Life of Pi (winner of 4 Oscars). Every time the shape shifting Irrfan play a new character we expect him to get lost in the character. Alas, in Hindi Medium he fails to essay a Chandni Chowk businessman with the usual conviction! The mistake is not just Irrfan’s for the real weakness lies in the screenplay that fails to do justice to a performer of Irrfan’s pedigree. 

4. Miscasting of Deepak Dobriyal in a rather serious role

Deepak Dobriyal has a great comic timing as we have seen in films like Tanu Weds Manu, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, and Tanu Weds Manu Returns. In Hindi Medium his role isn’t supposed to be inherently funny and that’s what ruins the character played by Dobriyal. While Dobriyal seems to have tried his level best to deliver a convincing performance the end result falls short of his best by some distance.           

5. Pakistani actress Saba Qamar’s overacting

Saba Qamar has made a name for herself as a serious actress in Pakistan but her role in Hindi Medium demanded the exact opposite. By looking at her performance in the movie one can easily tell that she was trying a bit too hard to get the comic moments right and as a result ended up delivering an over-the-top performance.  

6. Film’s condescending look at the poor and the needy

Hindi Medium is an attempt to take swipes at the class divide. But its representation of the poor and the needy is rather disappointing. Instead of highlighting the plight of the poor it seems to be taking pleasure out of their abysmal state.  

7. Film’s overtly negative portrayal of Delhi’s private schools

Hindi Medium portrays Delhi’s private schools in a negative light. Yes, corruption is omnipresent but the film’s view that the entire education machinery in the country is corrupt comes across as not only pessimistic but also deeply disturbing. To make a sweeping generalization that all the private schools in Delhi are run by good-for-nothing, corrupt administrators is demeaning to say the least. 

Rating: 4.5/10

A version of this review was first published in Wittyfeed.

Hindi Medium Trailer (YouTube)

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