Don’t let the title surprise you. As a song from the movie with the same title goes, this post is going to be all about the film, and yes it’s called English Vinglish. The just-released Sridevi-starrer hit screens last Friday with huge expectations as it was a comeback of sorts for Sridevi who had been away from the silver screen for more than a decade.
A simple story of a mother of two who faces hurdles because of her inability to talk in English and how she overcomes those odds to realise what really matters and sort it from the rest, English Vinglish is everything a good film is, and more. Tugging at your heartstrings, English Vinglish brings Sridevi back to the big screen in what may be her best performance till date. A very realistic portrayal, seemingly effortless, Sridevi is back and how!
The film takes us through various events in the life of Shashi (Sridevi) set in India and the USA. The story beings, and we see a Shashi who is unhappy with the constant ridiculing by her husband and daughter for not knowing English. Though they may not realize it, they end up looking down at Shashi and have a feeling of embarrassment when she is expected to speak in English publicly. Things get worse after Shashi has to fill in for her ‘fluent in english’ parents-teacher meet at her daughter’s school and serves as a turning point in the film, giving Shashi’s character a strong urge to do something about the situation. The rest of the story deals with how Shashi answers some important questions and proves a thing or two, to herself and the world.
Through this film, director Gauri Shinde does the impressive job of bringing a mainstream female-centric movie to the fore after almost a year. The film also raises good questions about a woman’s self-respect and her identity issues when something like being fluent in a foreign language is expected of her. Kudos to Gauri Shinde for attempting to write on such a brave topic.She keeps things simple and that works for the film. The film is made of moments instead of scenes, moments that stay with you for a long time after the last scene has faded from the screen. The twinkle in Shashi’s eyes after her achievement, the scenes with the family, the feeling of relating wholly with the character.. everything just falls in place. Full marks to the beautiful cinematography by Laxman Utekar for composing each frame so beautifully.
Also, the review would be incomplete without special credit to Amit Trivedi’s soul stirring music. Gems like ‘Dhak Dhuk’ and ‘Navrai’ fit in beautifully with the storyline, adding a special depth to the situation and making it memorable. Also, the ensemble cast of English Vinglish must be commended for putting up a great performance, with special mention to Adil Hussain who plays Shashi’s husband, and Mehdi Nebbou, who plays a French chef smitten by Shashi.
English Vinglish is a beautiful film and if you have ever ridiculed a person for not being comfortable with or fluent in English, this film will remind you and make you realize that it takes a lot to embrace a new language, and that people ARE trying.