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-Anoushka Manidhar

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Saba Qamar, Deepak Dobriyal, Amrita Singh

Changing Tomorrow Rating: 3/5 ***

What’s your snob-o-meter? A Chauffeur-driven Audi, a Louis Vuitton bag or the latest Gucci shades? But mind it, if you can’t speak the Queen’s language, English, then your chances to be invited to the swish parties in town go down the drain. Today, in New Delhi aka Nai Dilli, there are various tricks people use to assess your worth, but whichever way you slice or dice it, it all comes down to that biggest social indicator: English or Engliss?

An English medium school is not just a colonial hangover in our society but also a modern-day status symbol. It’s no secret that money and politics speak the loudest in Delhi. Language isn’t important, if you have money or a political connection in this city. But no amount of money or even a letter from the Prime Minister’s Office can help you get your kid enrolled in a private English medium school, or at least that’s what the movie – Hindi Medium is trying to say.

This family is one that we are all familiar with – a businessman father, stay-at-home mother and an only child. Perhaps some of us even belong to that family. Staying in Delhi’s famously infamous Chandni Chowk, this family is happy in their own ecosystem. That is, until they realise that they must get their daughter an admission into a private English medium school and leave the comfortable old Delhi.

And so, the Batra family decides to embark on a tough journey, from the crowded lanes of the old city to a fancy home in Delhi’s Vasant Vihar. They may have addressed the proximity to the fancy school but the unfamiliarity towards English gives them nightmares.

The film opens well, and both Irrfan and Pakistani actress Saba, make you feel the anxiety and the tension of parents in their search of that perfect school, that according to them will surely take their daughter to the pinnacle of success.

This is where the couple’s race against time and social give us a reality check of the kind of society we have begun to live in.

The film shows the common doubts that a middle-class man has when left in a high society. From how friendships develop while waiting for admission forms, to, being unable to understand the difference between a five-star hotel and a school, the film portrays easily relatable situations.

Saba’s eagerness to fit in where she doesn’t belong reflects as much in the edginess of her posture as it does in the volume of her forced vocabulary. Irrfan on the other hand, looks and acts like a common desi person and like always, is garnished by his impeccable timing. Deepak Dobriyal’s entry makes the film more joyous. As a daily wage innocent worker whose humanity is intact despite hardships, he represents the other side of the social pyramid.

Overall, Hindi Medium is a very important film that drags marginally towards the ending. The class divide among the English-speaking crowd and the not so well-versed is presented with a stark contrast. Although the film manages to show the loopholes and inadequacies of our education system, it gets quite predictable towards the end.

After a point, you begin to feel that the movie has become too preachy. The portrayal of all the lower-class people as very nice and all the upper-class people as super snobby and mean is hard to believe.

After his previous two films – Pyaar Ke Side Effects and Shaadi Ke Side Effects, Prakash Chaudhary could have named Hindi Medium also as ‘Consumerism ke side effects’. The film works because it invariably manages to stretch itself beyond its rickety elements, half-baked jokes, teachings on consumerism and the country’s obsession with English. It therefore translates into a simple story about a man who is willing to do as much as possible to see his girl smile.

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