English Vinglish Movie Review- Warm, Refreshing and Sridevi!

Movie: English Vinglish; Genre: Comedy/Drama; Director: Gauri Shinde, Starring: Sridevi, Adil Hussain

The last couple of months have been special for bollywood lovers, with leading ladies of yesteryears geared up for a comeback of sorts with their movies. So we had Bipasha Bashu in Raaz3 in Sept, and now we have English Vinglish in Oct, marking the comeback of one of the most accomplishedEnglish Vinglish is an endearing and captivating tale of humane spirit and women empowerment.

Five minutes into the film, and we are introduced to Shashi( Sridevi), an uncomplaining and dutiful Maharasthrian housewife and a caring mother, who is also into a small but successful catering buisness, in the form of making and selling Ladoos.  But she is completely disregarded and disrespected by her own husband ( Anil) and daughter , and is constantly ridiculed by them through insensitive jibes ,  due to her poor English conversational skills. The only solace she founds is in her affectionate mother in law ( Sulbha)  and her lovely son , who amuses her through her childish banter and antics!

Situations change when she has to reluctantly go to NY for her niece marriage preparations, and its where her self respect is again challenged, as she is humilated in NY Cafe due to her lack of English Skills. Disheartened, she resolves to turn the tables in her favour and rediscover herself, when she enrolls into a English tution classes. With the aid of her loving and understanding niece, her resilience  leads to transformational and triumphant journey of humane spirit and rediscovery.

Director Gauri Shinde weaves out a engaging tale through  simple yet magnetic moments, where a under rated housewife overcomes her weakness to empower herself with self assurance and confidence, flushed with dignity. There are a number of sequences which moves  you to the core, and have been depicted with profound sensitivity. – Shashi’s daughter cringes with embarrassment when her mother accompanies her to PTA meeting and when another parent engages her into a english conversation, her daughter brisks Shashi away in embarassment  . Also, Shashi’s humilation in a NY cafe, and her being snubbed continously by her husband. But the hallmark of the film is the climax, where Shashi nails  her constant humilation with a dignified speech  and emerges as a true winner!

Shashi’s english classes reminds you strongly of Zabaan Sambhalke, a popular sitcom of 90’s , where the laughs and comic moments are derived from a motley of characters- a Pakistani cab driver , a Chinese hairstylist, a South Indian software engineer, a black kid, and a dishy French chef named Laurent who’s instantly attracted to our traditional yet gorgeous Shashi. And the classroom scenes are a delight to watch, with each and every character portraying their roles wonderfully. EV is immensely watchable because of the soft and tender moments which are in abundance in this film.

First time director Gauri Shinde smartly encapsulates songs( Amit trivedi) into the narrative, with ” English Vinglish“, “Dhak Dhuk” and “Manhattan” being the standout tracks. Cinematography (Laxman Utekar) is top notch. In addition, the film is inundated with several wisecrack dialogues: To visa consulates question of What will you do in America without knowing English,  a fellow indian consulate retorts: The same way as how you are living here, without knowing Hindi!

English Vinglish is unimaginable without Sridevi. The actress is effortlessly charming, and pitches in a top notch performance. Playing the central role of a neglected and humilated protagonist, she portrays her vulnerability and humane spirit with perfection.  The actress is in a stellar form in this film and is an absolute treat to watch. You just cant move away your eyes and her performance is thoroughly inspiring.

Another actor to watch out for is Adil hussain , who plays the role of Sridevi’s insensitive husband who incessantly taunts her for poor linguistic skiils. Equally delightful is Priya Anand, who plays the  understanding niece of Sridevi and is the only one who aids her in accomplishing her goal of learning and discovering herself.  The kids who enact the role of Sridevi’s children are endearing, but its the child actor who plays her son takes the cake , for rendering a first rate performance.  Sujata kumar, as Sridevi’s sister is terrific, and Sulbha Desphande is equally good. French Actor Mehdi Nabbu is strictly ok.

A special mention about a 5 min cameo by Amitabh Bachchan– fantastic. He is incredible in his cameo, lighting up the screen with his terrific presence.

English Vinglish is the perfect platform for a Sridevi comeback, and equally, for women empowerment. As Sridevi nails it at the end- A wife not only needs love, but also respect from her family. How true!

Watch it out for:  A refreshing tale of humane spirit, women empowerment, tender moments, and a poignant Sridevi


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