Recently released Indian comedy-drama Hindi Medium, directed by Saket Choudhary, was in the limelight because of its satirical approach to Indian society and its education system. One of the themes of the film is the privilege attached to the English language and of course an English medium education.
Choudhary, who made his big screen debut with Pyaar Ke Side Effects (2006) and later directed its sequel Shaadi Ke Side Effects (2014), has woven multiple threads of an Indian society together through the characters in the films.
The protagonist in Hindi Medium is a rich businessman in Delhi whose wife insists on sending their daughter to a posh English medium school. The child is denied admission because her parents cannot speak English. The director, who earlier dealt with the funny side of romance and marriage, projected the flaws of India’s education system through the lens in his third directorial film.
Having Irrfan Khan as his first and only choice, the director has given his audience a full-proof package of witty and hilarious film. Connected to India (CtoI) grabbed some moments with Saket Choudhary and talked about his journey.
CtoI: When and how did you decide to make films? Please tell us about your journey.
Saket Choudhary: I’ve been writing stories and directing plays since school days but you never consider them to be career options, especially in suburban city Delhi. I wanted to be an engineer because that’s the only ambition you grow up with the middle class in the city. If you are a bright student, you would go for medical or non-medical streams, but I wasn’t bright enough to get through IIT. So, I joined Bachelor in Science (Physics) but my heart wasn’t into it. That’s when my parents suggested that I could do something with writing. So, I did Mass Communication and came to Mumbai to do something in advertising.
I joined as an AD in an ad production house and started getting some writing work along with that. Movers and Shakers was my first writing job. I was making enough to support myself so I decided I wanted to assist on one feature which was Phir Bhi Dil Hain Hindustani. I started helping in the writing also that led to Santosh Sivan asking me to write Asoka. That's how it led to filmmaking.
CtoI: What’s your view on banning Pakistani actors in the promotion process of the Hindi films?
Saket Choudhary: I understand the anger that follows an attack like Uri. People want to someone to be held responsible, to be punished. But unfortunately, the anger gets misdirected towards people who have very little role to play in this crisis.
CtoI: Would it be okay to call Hindi Medium as a farcical take on the current scenario a lot of parents’ face?
Saket Choudhary: We wrote it as a comedy but it grew to address various issues and we were careful that all of them are addressed in a funny manner.
CtoI: What kinds of reaction do you get from Indian diaspora across the globe?
Saket Choudhary: It was very heartening that despite the film having a very local flavour it seems to have connected to people across the globe.
CtoI: Please tell us about your upcoming projects.
Saket Choudhary: Just reading a lot of scripts. Putting down ideas. Let’s see what catches my interest.