Hindi Medium

What is the movie about? :: Raj Batra (Irrfan Khan) runs a highly successful business in Delhi, selling bridal wears, and he often likes to call himself a business tycoon. He had married his love from childhood Meeta Batra (Saba Qamar) when she had come to his small tailoring shop. Although he is rich and influential, knowing all politicians and businessmen of the area, he is a simple man, finding happiness in those simple things in life. His lack of education and the absence of knowledge in English are something which makes his wife disappointed, and she wishes to be part of the high class rather than live where they have always lived. Worried about the future of their only daughter Pia Batra (Dishita Sehgal), she wishes to have her admitted into one of the top schools in Delhi, including Prakriti School where the students are taught everything through dance and music, Suraj Valley School which nothing less than a five star hotel and Cross Road School which has a tie-up with Eton.

So, what happens next in this movie? :: But the biggest of them all is the Delhi Grammar School which has been at the top position in the school rankings for a long time. The famous politicians and business tycoons have all studied there, and everyone is sure that under the guidance of the visionary principal (Amrita Singh) who used to be a student there, the school can go only up from its position. But the school only gives admission forms to those who live nearby, within three kilometres radius. She forces him to make sure that they move out of Chandni Chowk to Vasant Vihar as the first part of trying to get admission. She is adamant that Pia will not study in a Hindi medium government school like they did, and she will speak English like no other. At their new place, they have new neighbours, but struggle to make friends with people like Aarti (Neha Dhupia) who find the new people to be of low class, not fit to be part of their high level society.

And what is to follow in this adventure for school admissions? :: To prepare their daughter as well as themselves from the upcoming interviews in the top schools, the meet up and take the advice of a consultant (Tillotama Shome) who has been training rich people and their children for a big price. But despite all these training, they are not that great at the interview, and the kid doesn’t get admission. There is the feeling that uneducated parents’ children will find it difficult to get an admission. This leads to him trying to get a seat in a top school in many other ways, including trying to bribe the principal and asking many politicians for help. But none of those ideas work, and they still keep trying, only to find that one of their employees’ child got admission in Prakriti School under Right to Education quota reserved for the people with lower income. There they find a way to get the much needed seat – make some changes in the necessary documents to find their chance. Can they succeed here in one way or the other?

The defence of Hindi Medium :: The movie’s comparison should be to Ramdhanu which is known to deal with a similar theme, and Salt Mango Tree which has remade the same movie. In comparison to Salt Mango Tree which is close to an exact adaptation, there are more differences than similarities here. Hindi Medium actually rises above the other, with a smarter adaptation of the idea. It has a girl child instead of the boy child, and has a rich family rather than the middle class one. There is also a better ending, and there is no foreigner coming to India and adapting the customs – it is a ridiculous idea in comparison to the overall theme, just like it was in Bangalore Days, for them adapting the Indian culture as the right way would only make Indians wishing to adapt theirs righteous. Hindi Medium rises above such foolishness along with the lame jokes there, and also shows the consultant in the right colour. With this one, Bollywood shows the skill and rises above the rest, and the medium is right here; feel-good it is.

The claws of flaw :: One might feel that Hindi Medium takes the simple things a little bit further than one would have thought. Some moments are surely overdone, or rather stretched further than needed. The jokes are also less in comparison even though the quality is certainly there. We can also see the glorification of poverty, even though it is a fact that being more and more rich only gets things to be worse – people getting rich just goes away from the common man’s world as well as the values which have been there for so long. There is also the focus on Hindi medium itself right from the title, when having the government school itself was enough. It would feel strange that all these are coming at a time when the government has been trying to impose Hindi in one way or the other, all over the states which have come up against the same. In an attempt to get away from English, one has to wonder if the need will soon be to escape from Hindi itself with a suicide squad.

Performers of the soul :: The one person who stands out in this movie in comparison with Salt Mango Tree is Irrfan Khan who shows a lot of balance in the way the comic side as well as the serious moments are carried on his his shoulders in the right manner. Saba Qamar also blends in, and does a wonderful job as the mother who wishes for more with the education of her child – Angels‘ own Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli’s work was more natural and emotional in Salt Mango Tree though. Deepak Dobriyal is too good in his role, and Swati Das is fine support to him. Tillotama Shome as the consultant might be the best among the smaller roles here – she is really good. Neha Dhupia is left with not much to do, with her role resembling a cameo. When you look at the cast of Salt Mango Tree, you will notice that in totality, there is more of known talent there, working towards making things better.

How it finishes :: My first thought about Hindi Medium was that it was going to be exactly Salt Mango Tree which seems to be more like the carbon copy of the 2014 Bengali family drama, Ramdhanu. But that certainly wasn’t the case, with the movie having its own ideas, and it is also better than the movie which came before that, and it does the same by quite a distance. The movies like Hindi Medium are required during these times when education has become a business – I would prefer to teach students values first, and English and Hindi later, but that wouldn’t really be possible in this world, I guess. There will also be people who will wish to steal the opportunity of others, and we will also see those people who think that speaking good English everything – but I wouldn’t consider that to be great. With communication, just understanding the point is necessary, and Hindi Medium surely has more valid points than your regular Bollywood movie. It also seems free from the terrible fans.

Release date: 19th May 2017
Running time: 132 minutes
Directed by: Saket Chaudhary
Starring: Irrfan Khan, Saba Qamar, Sanjana Sanghi, Tillotama Shome, Deepak Dobriyal, Delzad Hiwale, Sumit Gulati, Swati Das, Dishita Sehgal, Angshuman Nandi, Jaspal Sharma, Vijay Kumar Dogra, Rohit Tannan, Amrita Singh, Neha Dhupia, Sushil Parwana, Rajesh Sharma, Sanjay Suri, Mallika Dua, Tanishkaa Sanghvi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aurangzeb

aurangzeb (4)

Talking about Aurangzeb, one has to wonder why this name for a movie which resembled Don and its remake in its first trailer shown in the theatres, but then you remember the Mughal Emperor who fought for kingship over kinship (“kingship knows no kinship” as declared by the movie itself in some of the posters), as the young emperor battled his brothers and also put his father under house arrest in the Agra Fort for the control of the throne; then after his formal coronation in Delhi, he does execute his brother, the eldest son and the heir apparent of Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal, Dara Shikoh – as it is recorded in the annals of history. But his striving towards achieving his aim, and his master tactics might have also been considered while giving this name to the movie. His continuation of warfare might be another thing – the desire to achieve more heights, as he built up a massive army for more and more military expansion throughout the boundaries of his already vast empire. He was among the wealthiest of the Mughal rulers if what is written about him is true. By 1690, Aurangzeb had territories stretching from the South to the Afghan area. But after his death, the empire built on blood and intolerance breaks apart, something which has to be considered with the kingship of this movie.

The movie starts with a quote from The Odes, a collection of Latin lyric poems by Horace a.k.a Quintus Horatius Flaccus, the famous Roman poet from the age of the first emperor and the founder of the Roman Empire, known to us as Augustus Caesar. I can’t bring myself to remember that quote, but here we have another emperor! Never mind, our story follows the illegal real estate developer Yashvardhan (Jackie Shroff) and his always pleasure-seeking arrogant son Ajay (Arjun Kapoor). Rishi Kapoor, Prithviraj and Sikandar Kher is one cop family and challenges the family of criminals in a battle which is more unseen than seen. The police department succeeds in capturing Ajay and torture him, while they send out Ajay’s twin brother, Vishal (Arjun Kapoor), to Yashvardhan to find his secrets and bring his empire down to earth from the sky which it has set as the limit. Vishal joins the crew and becomes an informer, with a desire to take revenge for his mother who had to run away from his father Yashvardhan due to his dirty deeds. Here, the two brothers create the idea of Aurangzeb – the king, who puts his throne, sceptre and crown ie kingship above kinship. But in another way, Arya (Prithviraj) is also Aurangazeb – the concept not being limited to one person. Even his family of police officers has interest in real estate and they are all businessman on the end of the day. They fight their own battles, and the result is clearly unpredictable with the high emotional element involved.

Prithviraj Sukumaran has come up with a simple, yet excellent performance. There was evidently no mistake when he was declared as the future of Malayalam movie industry, and now he has moved further north and extended his domain more than once. He has been both the most liked and the most disliked movie actors the Malayalam movie industry has ever seen, and there has been unnecessary controversies for sure. For the Bollywood audience who don’t know him, right from the beginning of his career through Nandanam to establishing himself as part of the elite class in Thalappavu, he had a good number of ups and downs in Malayalam movie industry, and is now at the zenith of his glory with Ayalum Njanum Thammil and Celluloid, which brought to him the Kerala State Film Award for the second time, after a gap of six years. Lets just forget Aiyyaa and consider this his Grand Hindi debut, as he is indeed leaving a permanent mark with this one. Along with these movies mentioned, if you need to watch more of his movies, I would recommend Vargam, Akale, Indian Rupee and Classmates, two of his interesting performances which also have their own entertainment value.

There are also a number of critically acclaimed off-beat movies, like Akasathinte Niram, Veettilekkulla Vazhi and Manjadikuru. City of God and Manikyakallu are also worth mentioning here. But still, there might be no other movie like Celluloid, and as watching it might also be a tribute to the Indian movie industry, I would recommend it the most – Prithviraj is also at his best there, and therefore it is a must watch for all the true lovers of movies. His presence in Tamil is also to be noted and he is there in Telugu too, even as I have not explored that much. His other release in Malayalam, Mumbai Police also seems to be running pretty good in the theatres. After having a bad patch, he is now back in full power, and he is slowly blending into that police officer role which didn’t seem to suit him in a number of movies which failed miserably, but has now become part of his new series of roles in more than one language. Prithviraj had the opportunity and the option to step up, and he has successfully done that. There shall be more of him in Bollywood too, there is no doubt about that.

For the people who are confused already, Prithviraj is not the hero and neither is he the villain in this movie. But he surely does more than one job, as a businessman police officer, as the saviour and upholder of the law, the husband who forgets to smile at home (even as he has a grin when dealing with crime) and finally, as the family man who does what is expected of him. The big screen presence might have actually come up as a surprise for both his fans as well as the common movie watcher. He also narrates throughout the movie, and has presence on the big screen very often. Thus he does something more than being the supporting actor here. His character is there from the beginning to the end, as if he is the one who watches everything. His character has his understandings and transformations, and none of them seem to put the actor out of ease. The role of the two protagonists belong to Arjun Kapoor does the two characters with so much ease, especially the more evil side – the other one is just fine. There is no doubt that he is among the best of the young talents and he has proven it once again through this movie. After his performance in the action romance drama Ishaqzaade, here he comes up with another treat for the viewers. So, here are two actors, doing their job very well.

Sashaa Agha, the daughter of the Pakistani singer and actress Salma Agha also makes her Bollywood debut in this movie. Other than being the gorgeous presence in the movie, the twenty one year old also sings in the movie, the song being well received already. Even if one has to wonder if she is a little uncomfortable out there and there is a sure confusion around, the plot would have run well without that character, and considering that, she has done more than enough. She has surely earned her spot to be there, and her bikini-shot has already made it to the trailers; her song video already watched a lot; her debut surely a great one which has touched the stars with the role in an Yash Raj Films production. In total, it should be a perfect beginning for her. Jackie Shroff is a solid presence in the movie and same is the case of Rishi Kapoor, both of them contributing with more of themselves than anything else. The two would seem to be on the sides of evil and good in the beginning, but later fade into a grey from which the roles would seem to be reversing a bit, even as none of them really gets out the greyness which engulfs them. The latter stands out as the mastermind and the visionary. The cast makes the movie mostly about performances rather than the plot or anything else, as they have all done a very good job.

Despite the rise of my new blog; http://divineepic.wordpress.com/ and a possible further development which awaits it, the movie reviews shall continue and the movies of the soul shall continue to influence the minds without any halt, as they form an integral part of the weekend which restores the soul from its low energy stage to the supreme stage. Aurangzeb doesn’t fall behind in doing the same either. We have loved Don, and this movie leaves us no option, but to like it for what it is. With all the thrills and action sequences, Aurangzeb leaves the viewers with another thing – a message about the importance of brotherhood and the divine superiority of kinship over kingship in a complicated simplicity as it adds a certain kind of “thrill of eventual goodness” to whatever might have been a game of blood otherwise. With a little more vision, it could have been a classic for sure. The last week might have belonged to space travel and zombies with one English and one Hindi movie, and the earlier week belonged to a shootout or rather an encounter, but this is undoubtedly the week of Aurangzeb – not the emperor of history, but the new king of this century. The new blog belongs to another world, not of the movies; but this one belongs completely to this one world of celluloid, even as it shall never be free from the effects of that outside world which decides more than what it can handle.

Release date: 17th May 2013
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Atul Sabharwal
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Arjun Kapoor, Sashaa Agha, Amrita Singh, Jackie Shroff, Swara Bhaskar, Deepti Naval, Tanve Azmi, Rasika Dugal, Sikandar Kher

aurangzeb copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.