Saket Chaudhary’s directorial Hindi Medium is set to release in China, where Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan’s fan base multiplied with the success of his film Dangal. The director thinks everyone owes Aamir for showing “initiative and vision” in taking Hindi cinema to a new audience.
After Aamir’s Secret Superstar and Salman Khan-starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Hindi Medium will be the third Indian film to release in China this year. The Irrfan Khan-starrer will hit the screens in China on April 4.
Does Chaudhary think his film will be able to do better business than Aamir’s films?
“I think all of us owe Aamir Khan for showing an initiative and vision in taking Hindi cinema to a new and large audience. Without ‘Dangal’, the Chinese audience may have not been familiar with the new Hindi cinema emerging here that blends entertainment with strong social themes,” Chaudhary told IANS in an email interview.
“‘Secret Superstar’ has established that even smaller Hindi films have an opportunity there. We would like ‘Hindi Medium’ to do well and continue the trend. We are a continuation, not a competition,” he added.
Hindi Medium, a comedy-drama, is about a Delhi-based rich couple who go out of their way to give their daughter the best education so that the elite accept her. In the process, India’s education system is brought under the spotlight.
For Chaudhary, it’s not “so much” about the size of the market, but about reaching a new audience and how they connect to the story.
What surprised the film’s team was the similarities between Indian and Chinese parents.
“Both have an obsession with education as a means of social mobility and also their desire to learn English in order to be a part of the global economy. So we are excited to see how the Chinese audience connects,” said the director.
Hindi Medium, which released in India last year, was a commercial success in home country.
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who worked with him on films Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani and Asoka, was also one of the many celebrities who heaped praise on the director for “Hindi Medium”.
“After he saw ‘Hindi Medium’, he called me to tell me how much he liked it. I would love to direct him. Hopefully, I’ll have a script soon that I can take to him,” he said.
Hindi Medium is also getting a sequel, but Chaudhary won’t be helming it despite all the praise and success.
“For me, the most important reason to make a film is because I believe it’s a compelling story that impacts me while making it and impacts the audience while watching it.
“I have no interest in cashing in on success. The most important aspect of making a film for me is the challenge it offers. So, I’m looking at ideas that do exactly that,” he said.
But Chaudhary, who directed the sequel to the 2006 hit film Pyaar Ke Side Effects, has “nothing against sequels”.
“The story of ‘Shaadi Ke Side Effects’ was an idea that occurred independently. But for marketing purposes, it seemed better to mount it as a sequel. It didn’t have the same impact commercially but I’m very proud of the themes and ideas it explored,” he said.
As of now, he is working on a script for filmmaker Sajid Nadiadwala.