I remember watching Hindi Medium in Dubai. It was a small cinema inside Burjuman Mall. Although my favorite cinema was different it released only big-budget Bollywood films. For relatively medium budgeted films, Burjuman cinema was my pick. Also, I think I watched it alone. I watch movies alone till date but back in Dubai I always preferred a company. However, this was a film I did not want to miss at any cost. Afterall, it had the powerhouses of talent across both sides of the border: Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar.
I prefer watching movies with a blank state of mind and avoid reading any reviews beforehand. This keeps my opinion and experience unclouded. Despite being curious due to the star cast, I still had no expectations.
From the very beginning of the film, you could tell that this film has a lot to tell. Set up in the famous Chandni Chowk of Delhi, Hindi Medium was the story of a middle-class couple that became rich later by the dint of their hard work. However, no matter how rich they were they could still not match with the ‘elite’ for obvious reasons. In the colonial societies, a pre-requisite for being a part of the ‘it’ crowd is to have the finest command over English speaking skills. Saba Qamar wanted their only daughter to study in the best English medium school in Delhi. This was a lion’s task. The entire film revolves around the pseudo-elite complexes and their obsession with the English language.
Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar tried their level best to match up to the presumed ‘standards’ of the society. This journey leads them to self-discovery and inner awakening. I am definitely not telling you the entire story. Hindi Medium is everyone’s story on one level or the other. Since the news for its sequel is circulating in town, we will suggest you watch the first part. This is not just a movie. It is a key to find out the faults in our stars.
Hindi Medium did remarkably well on the box office for all the right reasons. No matter which class of the society you belonged to, you could relate to their struggle. We all know that our colonial hangovers are immortal. We know that the capabilities and character of a person can not be determined by command over a certain language or lifestyle. But we stand engulfed by the blanket of inferiority complex. We have forgotten the warmth of our own identity. We have forgotten that we are more than the brand of the bag we are carrying to impress the crowds. The struggle to stay relevant is kind of baffling and maddening.