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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Hindi Medium (2017) (Hindi)

A good cast and a good plot / storyline doesn’t necessarily make a good movie.  No other movie in recent times can come close to this adage as much as HINDI MEDIUM.  The movie has Irrfan Khan in it and therefore it must be good. Keep in mind that Irrfan also have non-movies such as Jazbaa, Thank You and Acid Factory amongst others to his credit.  He is human.  He makes mistakes.

Hindi Medium does everything that a standard Bollywood movie needs to do so that it can just about qualify as watchable.  It plays on stereotypes to the maximum possible extent – and most of the audience laps it up like an ice-cream that may melt too soon given the weather conditions around.

It begins by taking a topic that coincidentally (or is it? – let me not make a conspiracy theory out of this) has been top of mind for most parents in the past few weeks – with the fee hike controversy in April.  The timing is perfect again thanks to the same reason.  That, it is a topic that hasn’t been covered before gives it the freshness that has been lacking in Bollywood forever.

However, that and the exceptional promotional campaign for the movie is where it ends.  A movie has several other aspects to be considered other than just the broad storyline or premise.  If the experts have to be believed that writing, acting and direction are called as some of the more important aspects.  Lets not forget technical aspects such as editing, sound mixing etc. that is not visible to the lay person.

Hindi Medium fails on most of the core aspects that define good cinema.  The story (writing) is stale at best.  It just picks up standard stereotypes that have been portrayed in other movies about Delhi and maybe the typical Dilli wala to define a rich family that stays in Chandni Chowk. The dialogue is insipid and the humour forced.

The man of the house, Raj (Irrfan Khan) cannot speak English to save his life.  His wife, Mithali (Saba Qamar) is obsessed with the language and wants to give her daughter Pia a good education (read English education).  Her arguments start with “Spelling aati hai” (Can you spell) and finish with a hyper ventilating tirade about how her daughter will get depressed and take to drugs if she is not educated in an high end English school.

Director Saket Choudhary (Shaadi / Pyaar ke Side Effects) successfully manages to get Irrfan Khan to ham his dialogues and actually fail as an actor – yes, you read that right.  Even the otherwise super effective Deepak Dobriyal is reduced to an overacted mess. 

Saba Qamar is gorgeous for certain and given a better set of dialogues could probably show what she is really capable of.  But for now, even she fails to make the cut. Tillotama Shome is probably the only actor who holds her own in a role that is not really one that you may associate with her - but even her dialogues are superficial and seem really fake.

The technical aspects are almost non-existent.  Sound Mixing and editing are all but thrown out of the window.  But for one dialogue that stands out, everything else is either boring or stale or just in bad taste.  And of course there is no mid path in India.  There are only 2 types of schools – Expensive English Medium ones or Government Schools.

Having said all of that, if there is one take away from HINDI MEDIUM it is that one dialogue that stands out, “बंदा अगर अच्छा इंसान नहीं बन सकता है तो अच्छा हज़्बंड और अच्छा बाप कैसे बन सकता है”? (if a man cannot be a good human being then how will he be a good husband or father).  If you land up watching this 4 on 10 movie then do take away this one line as a positive.  The movie is terribly disappointing otherwise.

Watch the actual trailer on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjkFr48jk68

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