“Is Desh Mein Angrezi Zabaan Nahi Hai … Class Hai”
As someone who is not generally a fan of Indian movies, I remember groaning when my friends told me we were going to watch a movie called “Hindi Medium”. But this was one movie that genuinely hit home and left me drawing parallels with our own class-based Pakistani society. It took me back to the time when I was preparing for the interview of a particular private school and someone advised me to “carry a Gucci bag” and “flash Prado keys” and I would be good to go. Why should a student have to worry about any of that? Or maybe this is what we have confined education to.
Now that I am done ranting, let us discuss the film itself. Hindi Medium revolves around Raj Batra and his wife Mita who go to extreme lengths to get their daughter an admission at Delhi Grammar School. They are well-off and live a comfortable life but they are not well-versed in English and, hence according to the Indian dictionary, not classy enough. Hindi Medium is a true depiction of India’s obsession with the English Language and this is Pakistan’s reality too. It goes to show how we are still bounded by the shackles of colonialism. Instead of embracing and upholding our own language, we have adopted English as a parameter to judge intelligence.
Another underlying theme that I loved in this film is the contrast they have shown between the lives of the rich and the poor. Through the character of Shyam, the movie makes us realize how the poor, despite having lesser, are often so compassionate and generous while the rich are selfish and greedy. While this is a generalization, perhaps this exaggerated transition was necessary to convey the message.
The film does play with logic quite a few times. How Raj managed his business while living in slums remains a mystery. The second half of the film becomes a little dreary too and is just difficult to digest. In a nutshell, the film is thought provoking and it tackles some important social realities. I would say it is worth a watch for its theme and great performances!