In times where films are made purely for box office numbers, it takes some amount of courage for a debutante like Gauri Shinde to dish out an overtly simple film such as English Vinglish. Sridevi’s comeback vehicle borrows a leaf out of the methods of yesteryear filmmakers such as Hrikishesh Mukherjee, Basu Chatterjee besides having its own charm. The fact that the film stays in your heart for a long while after its viewing indicates its impact.
Shashi(Sridevi) is a naive yet a responsible wife of a corporate, mothering two children. She is mocked by her own family members repeatedly for her English speaking abilities or for the the lack of it. Despite being subjected to regular humiliation, she doesn’t complain. The movie showcases the path that Shashi takes to prove that she deserves to be something more than being a mere object of ridicule.
The theme of the film when essentially plain demands a screenplay that is neat, straightforward and entertaining. This one succeeds on this front consisting of characters crafted with honesty. The initial part of the film where the world around Shashi disapproves her simply on the basis of a language is unconvincing. The memorable moments in the flick, however, lie in the protagonists’ humourous experiences with her ‘interesting’ classmates in the language learning classes and the self learning she does, to get her act right.
Sridevi ably supported by Priya Anand and Mehdi Nebbou, does an excellent job as an extremely conservative Indian ‘entrepreneur’ making the victory of an underdog look beautiful. The sequences where she sits back on the bench and weeps after a disturbing incident in an American cafe and utters those unforgettable lines in the climax in her trademark ‘tentative’ tone show the effort she takes to get into the skin of her character. Amit Trivedi’s music silently wins you over and ensures the progress of the story seamlessly. The most important person who deserves a pat on the back is the first time writer, director Gauri Shinde who is unpretentious in driving through her point and does her best in making situations look close to life.
English Vinglish as a film strikes a chord because of its performances in spite of having its own limitations in the story. Watch it if you desire for a mature ‘Happy Vappy’ film that is Indian at heart and see a legendary actress spin a cobweb around her audiences yet again.