Saba Qamar recently debuted in an Indian movie, Hindi Medium. How was her Bollywood venture? Let’s find out!
Some Quick Facts About Saba Qamar
- She is a popular Pakistani TV show host, model and actress. Her best-known shows include Hum Sab Umeed Se Hain, Besharam, Maat, Dhoop Mein Andhera Hai, Jinnah Ke Naam, Uraan, Dastaan etc.
- Her Lollywood debut was in Manto (2015). She has also played the lead role in Lahore Se Agay (2016). Both these movies are among the most successful ones in the Pakistani cinema.
- Saba is soon to star in the Urdu 1 biopic about the late Qandeel Baloch. Due to the controversy attached, becoming a part of this was indeed a bold step. When questioned about the dangers associated, Saba is reported to have firmly said that she is not scared of the extreme reactions that are expected from some audience.
Her Bollywood Debut, Hindi Medium
Hindi Medium is a comedy-drama film. It hit the cinema screens on 19th May, 2017. Produced by Dinesh Vijan and T-Series, it revolves around the education sector.
The film is about a successful businessman Raj, his wife Mita and their daughter Piya. It depicts their struggles to educate her daughter in an elite school so that she may lead a respectable life with her head held high. Mita is relatively fluent in the English language but her husband is not much familiar with it. Both the adults are from middle-class backgrounds. They had attended average Hindi Medium schools and lacked higher education. Consequently, they were victims of the socially imposed inferiority complex that accompanies the lack of fluency in English and higher education.
For this reason, they make it a priority to educate their daughter in a ‘high-class/posh’ school. A top requirement of the admission process is that the parents must exhibit the mannerisms, grooming and values of the English-speaking elite. Raj and Mita readily undertake all sorts of pains for this cause. From shifting their residence, attending grooming sessions and getting their girl tutored, they try it all. Despite comically trying hard to adapt, they fail to convince the interviewers. Raj even resorts to ‘other’ means. He tries to bribe the school principal and uses his influential contacts, but to no avail.
Nevertheless, Raj gives it another shot. He tries his luck through the RTE (Right to Education) quota. This is a government reserved quota in elite schools for children hailing from the lower social classes. He pays a tout to create fake documents and to rig the lottery process. Things seems to be taking a good turn. However, they soon find themselves in deep trouble. It turns out that the scandal of corruption in the RTE process had been exposed.
The panic-stricken couple then embarks on a difficult journey to avoid embarrassment and conviction. A chain of events opens Raj’s eyes to some critical realities of life. The extent to which his poor neighbour/friend goes to help him touches him. This experience alters his perspective and leads him to a surprising decision. The unexpected conclusion portrays a strong and much-needed message.
An Important Social Issue Explored
Hindi Medium highlights the issues and corruption present in the education system. It acknowledges how the disparity in it helps maintain the social divide in the society. The system does not operate on the basis of merit, instead on the basis of social class. Even though the film is about the Indian society, unfortunately we Pakistanis can relate to the scenario depicted just as much.
Furthermore, this meaningful film sheds light on some social class specific characteristics. For instance, it depicts how poor people practise the concept of sharing in its true essence. It takes a lot of purity of one’s heart to be able to share with others when you already have less. The poor more often exhibit empathy while the rich extend their humanity only till the extent of sympathy for the less privileged.
The best part is that it conveys the messages while keeping you entertained throughout the movie!
The Box Office Response
Hindi Medium had a budget of 22 crore. It saw a successful first week in the Box Office in which it earned a total of 25.21 crore. It had already recovered 15 crore previously through satellite, music and other rights.
Not only is the film already in the profit zone, it is also faring well in its second week. The experts are predicting its profits to go beyond 50 crore. This would be a great achievement, as Hindi Medium was released in the same time as other films which are expected to get a good response. These include the Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor starrer Half Girlfriend, Sachin A Billion Dreams and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Saba Qamar’s Bollywood Experience
It is true that Saba’s Bollywood debut didn’t get as much media hype as Mahira Khan’s Raees debut did. However, there is no doubt that her performance is brilliant. Additionally, Irfan Khan as a male lead is a treat on its own. The two compliment each other on the screen quite well.
Interestingly, it was Irfan Khan himself who recommended Saba for the role. He revealed in an a promotional event that he saw her videos on YouTube and shared them with the director and the producer of the movie. They all really liked her and this led to the offer.
Unfortunately, due to the backlash that Pakistani actors such Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan have faced in India in the past, Saba Qamar was unable to visit India for her movie’s promotion. However, the movie is receiving a warm response and Saba, a lot of praise. According to her co-star Irfan Khan, “The role demanded someone with beauty and humour. She did justice to the role and in the process of shooting, she also enjoyed herself thoroughly.”
“Working with Saba has been an excellent experience,” he added.
The talented Pakistani beauty has also impressed many critics. According to Times of India, Saba is a “sheer delight on screen”. The Deccan Chronicle states, “Saba Qamar shines bright in her Bollywood debut. She is hot, beautiful and most importantly, a great actor.”
The film also has additional treat. That is Atif Aslam’s beautiful song, Hoor, which people are loving right now. Well, we are glad that our amazing Pakistani talent is being recognized and appreciated. We wish Saba Qamar and the her team the very best for the success of Hindi Medium!