Hindi Medium: When Pakistan and India come together to shatter class barriers

Published: April 8, 2017

The two-and-a-half minute trailer sees the transforming journey of the duo dealt in an extremely light hearted manner.

I always knew Saba Qamar was good, but this good? She is going ‘toe-to-toe with Irrfan Khan and still holding her own version of good. Pakistani diva’s Bollywood debut Hindi Medium’s official trailer has just dropped and it’s safe to say that we are all highly impressed.

The great Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini once said,

“A different language is a different vision of life.”

While his statement might ring true anywhere on God’s green earth, but in our part of the world, it reaches gospel status.

Photo: Screenshot

Photo: Screenshot

Being in a country where multiple languages are spoken, we have got one language, which is supposedly more special than the others. This has compelled the true Tolkien fan in me to come up with a declaration of my own: ‘One language to rule them all’!

If one is able to speak English with a ‘foreign’ accent, be it American, British or even the crude Aussie version, it is often considered an intangible status symbol in our country. And guess what? Our next door neighbors – with whom we happen to share the same colonial overlords – are no different.

Khan, a Punjabi clothes store owner from Chandni Chowk and his wife Qamar is one such couple. While our affluent Chandni Chowk residents might be rich in monetary terms, but since they are ‘hindi medium’ and consequently unable to fluently converse in English, they still can’t break into the hallowed company of the true Delhi elites. Qamar summarises this whole phenomenon in one notable quip:

“Is desh mein angrezi zubaan nahi hai, class hai.”

(English in this country is not a language but a class)

Photo: Screenshot

Photo: Screenshot

So in order to breach this class barrier, the couple embarks on a tricky journey to get their daughter enrolled in a fancy English medium school, thinking if it’s not them, at least their offspring should get to be a part of the revered class.

The two-and-a-half minute trailer sees the transforming journey of the duo dealt in an extremely light-hearted manner.

On first viewing, one can immediately draw comparisons to Sridevi Kapoor, the protagonist in English Vinglish, which was a huge success with both the critics and the box office. The dramedy also touched upon the same theme of how an Indian, or any other desi for that matter, is not taken seriously unless he or she is fluent in the vilayati boli (foreign language).

Photo: Screenshot

While we have come to expect nothing less than a stellar performance by Khan, it is our very own Qamar who would surely surprise a lot of people from across the border. It arguably might be her looks that got her into B-Town but it’s going to be her talent which will ensure that she becomes a regular feature on Indian screens. I, for one, simply can’t get enough of her sarcastically witty avatar.

The movie is directed by Saket Choudhary, who co-wrote Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Asoka the Great (2001) and also directed Pyaar Ke Side Effects (2006).

Hindi Medium is slated to hit theatres on May 12th.

Hassan Sardar

Hassan Sardar

The author is an aspiring filmmaker and a diehard Liverpool fan. He also teaches Screenwriting and Cinematography, and loves tattoos and flip-flops. He tweets as @CineSardar (twitter.com/CineSardar)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Allah Rab Bhagwn Jeesus Moses

    Common…A small role is offered and you guys go over it gaga..the lady is playing an Indian character and you can see in dialogue that she delivers…
    So, this is an indian film with Indian characters nothing to do with pakistanis…thats the fact manRecommend

  • KDP

    Who states it has anything to do with Pakistan anywayRecommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    If it wasn’t for bollywood we in pakistan would think india is located in Africa occupying kashmir in asia, it is an honest truth. Recommend