Review: Saba Qamar raises the bar with ‘Hindi Medium’

Published: May 22, 2017


KARACHI  : For someone who doesn’t follow TV at all, Saba Qamar’s effort to induce vigour into the otherwise lazy and pointless Lahore Se Aagey came as a huge surprise. This woman wanted to act and exhibit what she is capable of but the canvas was too narrow for any exuberance and all that shined through were her looks and Western attire snags. In simple words, Saba didn’t have a Bol to launch her film career in Pakistan but neither did she choose a Raja Natwarlal to follow it up.

Somewhere between a stroke of luck and genius, Saba found Hindi Medium and at the heart of it, her arrival in B-Town, with effortless grace, speed and strength.

Saba Qamar took special dialect lessons for Bollywood debut ‘Hindi Medium’

As someone who is strongly against supporting anything Pakistani just because it’s Pakistani, I must confess that Saba drives this Saket Chaudhary masterpiece as Irrfan Khan steers it in the right direction.

Hindi Medium revolves around a newly-rich, Chandni Chowk couple that doesn’t want their daughter to go through what they did in a government school, just because their parents couldn’t afford anything else. Now that they have the means, Mittu (Saba) and Raj (Irrfan) finally decide to get their daughter admitted into the Delhi Grammar School only to realise it takes a lot more than money to get accepted in an education system that relies heavily on class supremacy.

This is where the couple’s race against time and complexes take us through a world full of reality checks without being as preachy as you’d expect a mainstream Bollywood film with a ‘message’ to be.

Saket’s brilliance as a director, and Zeenat Lakhani’s as co-screenwriter, lies in the depth of their understanding of the issue at play. But as they say, an idea not expressed is not an idea. Saket complements a relatable issue with a carefully crafted plot, one that could have easily drifted away into the lead characters’ personal conflicts. There are quarrels but not pointless fall outs and the fact that the film still manages to hold on to its drama, both, happy and sad, makes for an outing that forces you to think while being entertained. Why to say something when you actually have something to say is perhaps the biggest lesson local film-makers and screenwriters can learn from Hindi Medium.

Bold and daring: Saba Qamar to star as Qandeel Baloch in biopic

However, the crudeness of the issue couldn’t have been communicated as powerfully, had it not been for such an exceptional set of actors. 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 and Irrfan, quite organically, gives her enough room to dominate and she makes the best out of it.

Irrfan on the other hand looks and acts like a common desi person and all he had to do was to take out his angst against our post-colonial hangover and the rest, like always, is garnished by his impeccable timing.

As a whole, 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 also exists in Pakistan and the fact that we consider ourselves ‘accommodating’ by letting ‘them’ behave however they want, within their own clout and space, as ‘we’ continue to do in ours is the real problem. This is not pluralism; it is one of the primary forms of racism and Hindi Medium holds a mirror to that.

Verdict: Hindi Medium has done for Saba what Kapoor & Sons did for Fawad and its a treat worth your money

Rating: 4/5

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Chachea Jee
    May 22, 2017 - 12:25PM

    Woh… no Indian protest, a Pakistan actor in movie Recommend

  • AD
    May 22, 2017 - 7:30PM

    I luv Saba.I am indian.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    May 22, 2017 - 8:55PM

    Saw this movie last Friday and like it very much. Saba Qamar did very well but should not have been able to do so well, had it not been for Iran Khan. Iran Khan does not act. He just lives the role he portrays in the movie at that time, whatever be the role he is given. A great actor who does it so effortlessly and so naturally.
    As for Fawad Khan and Ali Zafar, I think they are just OK actors and nothing more. I am yet to be impressed with their acting talents. May be that they are yet to get a role to show their talents. Recommend

  • Atif
    May 23, 2017 - 3:37AM

    Ok waiting for some swear words for Saba by the Indians. I am waiting.. donot disappoint me guys.Recommend

  • Atif
    May 23, 2017 - 3:38AM

    @Raj – USA:
    With all your respect even Amitabh was not a perfect actor. I was a big admirer of Amitabh btw even though I knew he is not perfect.Recommend

  • SH
    May 23, 2017 - 1:55PM

    I liked the movie and Saba Qamar’s acting was fantastic as always. I’m glad she was given an equally important and big role as the lead actor unlike Mahira Khan in RaeesRecommend

  • sutapa
    May 23, 2017 - 4:42PM

    Both Saba and Irrfan perform command-ably. Recommend

  • Shahid
    May 24, 2017 - 1:28PM

    a small example of how much better things would be if Pak-India learn to work as partners. Recommend

  • Deepak Gupta
    May 29, 2017 - 3:52PM

    Saba has done a very good job & she needs to be congratulated for her very good work. As for Irfan Khan : We know he is Irfan Khan :) Recommend

  • Prada
    May 31, 2017 - 5:58PM

    Saba is very talented. Mahira and Saba are the jewels of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Zaida Parvez
    May 31, 2017 - 6:20PM

    Irrfan Khan is the most over-rated actor ever!
    But Saba is charming and really, really talented.Recommend

  • Owlish saadat
    Jun 2, 2017 - 2:04PM

    Chauvinists on Both Sides. Please stop assessing actors by their nationalities. Art has no borders and religion. Grow up guys. And judge art and performance for what it’s worth.Recommend

  • anil sahu
    Jun 4, 2017 - 2:57PM

    @Zaida Parvez: do some taarif to irfan also he aint bad..Recommend

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