Hindi Medium is a 2017 Indian Hindi-language comedy-drama film written and directed by Saket Chaudhary. It was produced by Dinesh Vijan and Bhushan Kumar under their respective banners Maddock Films and T-Series. The film features Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar in the lead roles, with Deepak Dobriyal and Dishita Sehgal in supporting roles. Set in Delhi, the plot centres on a couple’s struggle to get their daughter admitted to a prestigious English-medium school in order to rise in society.
The idea for the film was created by Chaudhary and his co-writer Zeenat Lakhani during the development of his previous film Shaadi Ke Side Effects (2014). The film was shot in Chandni Chowk, Anand Lok, Karol Bagh, and Sangam Vihar. The film’s soundtrack album was composed by the duo Sachin–Jigar, with lyrics by Priya Saraiya and Kumaar. The score was composed by Amar Mohile. Laxman Utekar was the cinematographer, and A. Sreekar Prasad edited the film.
Made on a production budget of ₹14 crore, Hindi Medium released on 19 May 2017, and received a generally positive reception from the critics, with particular praise for Khan’s and Qamar’s performances. The film grossed ₹3.22 billion (US$45 million) at the worldwide box office (mostly from China), making it the 20th highest-grossing Indian film at the time. At the 63rd Filmfare Awards, it won Best Film, and Best Actor for Khan. Due to the success of the film, a spiritual successor, Angrezi Medium, went into development, and was released theatrically on 13 March 2020.
Raj Batra (Irrfan Khan) is a boutique owner who lives in Chandni Chowk, with his wife Mita (Saba Qamar) and 5-year-old daughter, Pia (Dishita Sehgal). The couple want Pia to be admitted to a prestigious English-medium school in Delhi as they feel that this will enable her to become a part of the elite of society. They decide on Delhi Grammar School, ranked the best in the city, but it requires that students must stay within a 3-km radius of the school. They move to a posh villa in Delhi’s upscale Vasant Vihar neighbourhood and try to become more refined in their manner. A consultant, Shikha (Tillotama Shome), despite her misgivings about them, tutors them in the answers to be given in the admission interview, but their limited knowledge of English means Pia’s application is rejected.
Raj and Mita learn from an employee that his daughter has been admitted through the Right to education (RTE) quota, a scheme that helps children from poor families to be admitted to prestigious schools. After a scam reveals that rich parents are gaming the quota to admit their children, they move to Bharat Nagar, a slum area, for a month and pretend to be poor. They strike a friendship with Shyam (Deepak Dobriyal) and Tulsi (Swati Das), who are hopeful that their son Mohan (Angshuman Nandi) gets to study in Delhi Grammar School through the RTE quota. Shyam and Tulsi teach them to live like truly poor people, and Raj joins Shyam at work. However, while Pia eventually gets admission, Mohan’s application is rejected.
The Batras return to Vasant Vihar. Raj and Mita make a donation to the Bharat Nagar Government School, where Mohan studies, to renovate it and get new books. After watching their son become fluent in English, Shyam and Tulsi search for the identity of the anonymous donor to thank them. However, when he visits the donor’s address in Vasant Vihar, Shyam finds out the truth about Raj pretending to be poor to enable Pia’s admission and leaves to tell Delhi Grammar School’s principal (Amrita Singh) of Raj’s deceit.
Raj and Mita rush to Delhi Grammar School to get there before Shyam. Raj asks for Pia’s admission to be revoked and tells the truth, but the principal dismisses him. Raj gatecrashes the Annual Day function, gives a speech about English in India and education rights, and leaves. On their way out, the Batras tell the principal of the Bharat Nagar Government School that they plan to admit Pia to his school to study with Mohan.
Credits adapted from Bollywood Hungama:
Irrfan Khan as Raj Batra
Delzad Hiwale as young Raj
Saba Qamar as Mita Batra
Sanjana Sanghi as young Mita
Kiran Khoje as Sushila
Dishita Sehgal as Pia Batra
Amrita Singh as Principal Lodha
Deepak Dobriyal as Shyam Prakash
Neelu Kohli as Mita’s mother
Rajeev Gupta as Masterji, Raj’s father
Sumit Gulati as Chotu
Mallika Dua as Dolly
Kulbir Kaur as Dolly’s mother
Charu Shankar as Maya
Tillotama Shome as consultant
Rajesh Sharma as MLA
Taran Bajaj as tout
Ankur Jain as news reader
Swati Das as Tulsi
Neha Dhupia as Aarti (special appearance)
Sanjay Suri as Kabir (special appearance)