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HINDI MEDIUM - Perfectly presenting the trauma of Nursery Admissions, its a must watch film that teaches a lot about life and the right way of living too. (Review By Bobby Sing)

20 May, 2017 | ALL ABOUT INSPIRED MOVIES / Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / H

It’s extremely difficult to conceive a film that happens to be a meaningful social drama, an enjoyable comedy and a sharp satire on the system all together. Thankfully HINDI MEDIUM turns out to be a rare film of this kind addressing a burning social issue of Nursery admissions in all reputed private schools of Delhi, presented in a highly entertaining as well as thought provoking manner featuring three outstanding performances not to be missed.
Yes, the film has its own share of shortcomings of (necessary) exaggerations and a less impressive preachy kind of finale that could have been much better. But that doesn’t hugely affect its overall impact and the film largely remains a worth appreciating, highly relatable and a fine engaging work by a talented team led by the director Saket Chowdhury.
Beginning from an adorable flashback of Chandni Chowk with a superb casting of a young Irrfan & Saba, HINDI MEDIUM’s first half remains mostly closer to the reality and the second half delightfully comes up as a satire having its own far-fetched assumptions adapted for the message to be delivered. But interestingly its this second half only that converts the film into a much more meaningful watch, teaching some basic lessons of life related with the joy of sharing, the bliss in poverty and the art of finding happiness in the success of others.
However here I would like to talk about the basic subject of HINDI MEDIUM sharing my own personal experience of going through a similar time, which might enlighten many justifying the few insertions (in its first half) that are all REAL and no exaggerations giving you the actual picture.
In the beginning of the year 2008, we were looking for the nursery admission of my less than 3 years old nephew and had no idea in our wildest of dreams that what was coming ahead in the next few months. Here is a brief account of those events without taking any names.
- Collecting forms was the first step of this herculean expedition of Nursery Admissions.
And on one fine Monday I called the cab agency to book a cab for 5 am in the morning (there was no mobile app then) facing an obvious question. The attending girl in the cab agency asked, “To the Airport Sir!”. “No” I replied, “Its for getting in line for forms issued for Nursery Admissions!”. She got confused but had to book the cab as requested.
Arriving well in time, the driver dropped me at the school more than 12 km away from my home by 5.30 am. And I found a long queue already there in front of the school gate including people in their track suits and other morning walks wears. In the next 2 hours, the line continued to become longer and as the gates opened at 7.30 am, everyone started running towards the counters turning the decent, matured queue into a mad uneducated crowd in less than one minute.
I did manage to get a form by 8 am. We filled it carefully, deposited in the school on the next day (again getting into a line for an hour), but then never got a call as expected.
- Filled similar forms in more than 15 schools, but got a temporary listing in only one, which was not on our priority list (This is another problem of priorities!)
- We didn’t get admission anywhere as there was a point system (in the forms), which preferred the kids residing within the areas of 5 kms, the kids whose parents were the alumni, the kids having a brother or sister already studying in the school and the kids fitting in some other quota systems arbitrarily set by the different school managements on their own.
In fact the only points we earned were for the parents educational qualifications……… which ironically were of no use.
- Went to the elected leader of the area our preferred school was situated in. Managed to get a recommendation letter…….. it wasn’t considered or got rejected.
- Went to another influential personality of the region. He even gave a personal letter addressing the principal……….. it wasn’t considered or got rejected.
- Fed-up by now, I even gave some token money to an unknown person met during a travel, who promised to get us the admission in the desired school. He took the money, didn’t do anything and then refused to give it back like a local don. And I did this, despite considering myself as a well aware, educated person…….. guiding others.
- Always hesitant of taking any favour from my students, I still went to a retired reputed government officer in my contact - the father of one of students from my teaching years. The noble person even went to the school with me doing an unexpectedly generous personal favour. The recommendation wasn’t considered completely but our name was included in the lottery list as a courtesy leaving it all on our own fate.
- On the lottery event day, we were there sitting in the auditorium with fingers crossed. They kept taking the selected names picking random slips from the box…… but never called the name we were waiting for. And just after the disappointing event of the day, my 3 years old nephew innocently asked a question, “Are we unlucky?” (exactly like the film).
Cheering him up with an outing, movie and dinner, we actually didn’t have any answer to the question, admitting it honestly.  
- Finally, we thought of meeting the principal once again. Having three teachers in the family (including the present and former), we offered to give our professional services to the school if required (as an act of desperation). The principal decently talked to us and considering what we have been doing for the admission (coming up with repeated letters and personal recommendations since last two months), she promised us an admission next year and requested/advised us to continue with the play-school for one more year as the kid still had time and would not go over-age as per his birth-date.

- Having no other choice, not willing to part with a questionable desire to get the admission in that particular school, we took the advice and waited for our turn next year as promised.
But you won’t believe what happened next.
Within that one year, the principal decided to quit and she got retired.
Now we were back to the square-one and had to go through the whole extremely painful process once again right from the beginning.
Thankfully one of my friends came for our rescue and we finally got the admission in the same school next year, through his personal efforts, feeling the biggest relief at that particular time of our lives ………. as a much awaited blessing.
NOW every single happening mentioned above (lived personally) is there in the film HINDI MEDIUM too that many might be looking upon as something over-the-top (not having faced it personally….. yet!).
Plus here are some more REAL FACTS shown in the film, which are not exaggerations at all as per my personal experiences.
- In Delhi-NCR and certainly in other metros too, many of the institutions called SCHOOLS have actually transformed into FIVE STAR BUILDINGS charging a bomb from the parents in the name of Educational Fees. I myself was truly amazed to see a few ‘so called Schools’ strongly lacking the feel of an educational institution to be honest.
As a matter of fact, that was exactly the reason we wished to get admission in that particular school of our choice (stated above) as it was a reputed as well as a decent non-five-star institution with an affordable fees and the exact feeling of a school we all have been studying in. So the film exactly displays the truth without going overboard referring to this unbelievable situation.

- After the kids get admitted to a posh five star school, many of the parents do start thinking about shifting from the ‘not so posh’ locality they have been living in since their birth. They do call it as a shift made for their kid’s future, but in reality it’s all with a hidden intention of gaining a higher social status, a show-off of their newly acquired bank balance and nothing else.
Have seen families shifting to the ‘so-called-high-class-localities‘ giving the same reasons and then the husbands later emotionally repenting on the decision too…………. in the late hours of a private party post a few heavy drinks. HINDI MEDUIM rightly has this in its script as a highly authentic inclusion.
- In the present world of social networking, may be intentionally or not, but we do feel the urge to share pictures of our out-station visits even before enjoying the supposedly rejuvenating travel itself. If truth be told, we have actually almost lost the art of enjoying holidays without clicking pictures (read Selfies) especially taken for sharing at these social networks and not for any personal family album, perfectly depicted in the film.
- Indian obsession for ENGLISH has been there since always. But such schools have definitely made a big contribution in the same undoubtedly. These schools have fines imposed on students not speaking in English (like the one I studied in) and also make the parents feel uncomfortable in the PTMs when they are not able to converse in fluent English.
Sharing my personal experience I regularly meet young friends willing to write in English just because of the reputation associated with the language and nothing else. My only suggestion to them is to write in the language they are comfortable in, the language in which they can emotionally express the best taking advantage of the numerous options available in even the social networks. Giving my own example, I prefer to write my articles in simple English as that’s how it all started (without any clause of reputation), but I am not at all comfortable or interested in writing my poetry in English. When it comes to poetry then its strictly Hindi (Urdu) or Punjabi for me and nothing else. And that’s also mostly applicable in reading poetry books too.
HINDI MEDIUM just perfectly portrays this silly obsession for the language from two different perspectives of rich as well as the poor in its two distinctive halves.
Coming back to the review, the exaggeration does admittedly exist in the film’s second half. But that actually remains a tool to effectively bring out the satire in an emotionally entertaining manner in my humble opinion. The film’s script and dialogues work really well conveying the important alarming message and cinematography enhances the overall impact accompanied by a fine background score.
Above all HINDI MEDIUM’s three important pillars remain its key performers namely Irrfan Khan, Deepak Dobriyal and Saba Qamar (from Pakistan), well supported by Tilottoma Shome (as parents coaching consultant) and Mallika Dua (in her short cameo). Irrfan Khan once again proves his familiar yet highly enjoyable swag playing the Dad and Saba Qamar (of serial MAAT fame) is delightfully natural as his wife obsessed with her social status. Together they perfectly fit in their characters and are a real treat to watch right till the end, but the winning ace is played by Deepak Dobriyal in the second half, actually scoring the most in all the painfully emotional sequences. No doubt a strong contender for this year’s Best Supporting Act, giving a tough competition to the rest.
Having said that, Amrita Singh’s confusing character of the Principal, Irrfan’s finale speech and the music remains the weakest part of the film wherein the makers yet again seem to be highly obsessed with PUNJABI music. Strangely two of its featured songs “Taare Gin Gin” and “Tainu Suit Suit Karda” are once again borrowed from Punjabi pop music (with the first one also being an almost two decades old song). Besides the unimpressive children stage performance track in the climax too uses Punjabi words in the lyrics without any related reference.
Inspirational Angle
Having seen the Malayalam film SALT MANGO TREE (2015) which was a remake of the original Bengali film RAMDHANU (2014), HINDI MEDIUM does have its similarities in the basic theme and the inclusion of a parents coaching institute in its first half. However the film moves on to an entirely different path post intermission and in totality remains a distinctive take on the issue more inclining towards an enjoyable witty comedy and a sharp satire. So it can be said to be partially inspired but not copied as it is to be exact.

In all, HINDI MEDIUM is a well-written, beautifully performed and thoughtfully directed light-hearted comic satire pointing towards the questionable functioning of all (highly rated) private schools and the pathetic state of all government schools in our society (not generally preferred by even the middle class families). It might not be a perfect film having some avoidable flaws, but surely deserves to be seen as a must for Irrfan Khan, Deepak Dobriyal and Saba Qamar together offering you a thoroughly entertaining as well as enlightening time reminding you of this life teaching couplet of Bhagat KABIR……as,
"मन लागो यार फकीरी में, जो सुख पावो नाम भजन में, सो सुख नाही अमीरी में"

Interestingly while writing this long piece, I just a heard a news anchor saying in a TV channel,
“Nursery Admissions will be done on merit basis”
Frankly sounded like A BIG JOKE to me, cracked on we the society, the system and the authorities pointing towards the situation worsening every new year without any decisive check or control.
Rating : 3.5 + 0.5 / 5 (Including the addition 0.5 just for Deepak Dobriyal)
Hoping and praying that nobody goes through this trauma of Nursery Admissions as we did.


Tags : Hindi Medium Film Review by Bobby Sing, Inspired Films, Socially Relevant Films, Hindi Medium and Salt Mango Tree, Hind Medium and Ramdhanu, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
20 May 2017 / Comments ( 7 )
Abel Desai
Excellent review.
Bobby Sing
Thanks for the kind appreciation Abel Desai. Cheers!
Wonderful review of a superb movie... thank you
Bobby Sing
Thanks a lot Purnima and great to know that you liked the film too. Cheers!
After reading the review, one new name flashed for you in my mind \"Bobby \'Bang-On\' Singh\" Cheers!
Bobby Sing
Many loving thanks for the new name Sudhanshu. Will try my best to maintain the standards with HIS BLESSINGS
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