The film starts off with a simple plot involving a housewife called Shashi. The Marathi woman prepares and sells laddoo as a homegrown business, and lacks the knowledge of English. Unfortunately and much to her disappointment, her husband Satish and daughter Sapna mock her for this 'low-class' drawback of hers, and her lack of self respect as a woman. During a sequence of events, Shashi has to go to New York alone five weeks ahead of her niece's wedding there.
There, she enrolls herself in an English speaking class, where she eventually gains self respect and eventually, a freedom of thoughts, a freedom from constant humiliation. There's this emotionally hooking scene in the climax where Shashi delivers an intensely heartwarming and emotional climax speech. Though the director Gauri Shinde has designed the film as- well- a wedding toast, it is enthralling and capitalizes the virtues of a woman quite nicely.
And that makes me come to the writing of the film. The dialogues, written by Gauri herself, draws a lot of similarity from the right from the heart script of R. Balki's "Paa", but unlike that film's script which suffered a constant tedium in the first half, it is all heart. The film also adds brain to its filmmaking so that nothing appears forced in the life of this woman, and the film, which is one-woman show for Sridevi, who has come back to acting straight after 'Judaai'.
The film would easily be registered in the popular meory as one of her most restrained works as an actress. Let me report, Sridevi is still succulent in a charming performance as a homemaker, her performance never derailing. Shinde too has produced an effective characterization for Shashi and the rest of the Godbole family, with the real charm and plot surrounding them being based on their nature. Despite suffering from a constant Bollywoodization syndrome, the film lifts off truly. The film is visually stunning as well, thanks to the well-rendered cinematography by Laxman Utekar, who, I believe, will serve you the best visuals this year.
This is, above all, a strong, realistic film which comes with appealing emotions, touching writing and stunning performance from an actress whom we sorely missed. It might be bloated at some point of its craft, but it moves away from its flaws very smartly. The film teaches to accept the flaws, and the performances of the starcast add to the messaging. DO NOT miss that sequence when Shashi meets Amitabh Bachchan in the flight to New York. Worth the price of a ticket alone!
Over the decades our Indian film industry has been blessed with proficient actors who has essayed characters with such flair & finesse that at times we gasp with disbelief as to whether it's fact or fiction. I have been watching Bollywood movies since the past two decades, during which time there has been a host of good performers but very few of the caliber of Sridevi. After having started acting at the tender age of four, she has been rightful termed as "The First Female Superstar of Indian Cinema", before she retired into domestic life 15 years back following the blockbuster "Judaai". However, ever since her comeback venture "English Vinglish" has been announced, the hype & expectations has been going through the roof . The promos surely looked promising but was such a long wait justified???
Shashi (Sridevi), is a typical middle class Indian wife whose life revolves around the welfare & happiness of her family. She goes about her household work selflessly & even runs a small but successful catering business of ladoos. But her inability to converse in English always stung her as she was the object of numerous callous jibes by her husband & daughter. Things take a turn when she travels to New York to help out with her niece's wedding. After being humiliated at a cafe, she enrolls into a four week English speaking course without informing her kin. So will she able to keep it a secret & conquer English which has constantly hurted her self respect???
Gaurav Shinde is a noted ad film director & though a debutant film maker she already had her brush with the industry courtesy of her husband, R. Balki assisting him in "Cheeni Kum" & "Paa". Call it coincidence or her husband's effect but "English Vinglish" also oozes the same sense of freshness & appeal as "Cheeni Kum". Her screenplay is simple & has clarity which makes us instantly relate with the psyche of the protagonist. There is no denying the fact that certain sequences has been inspired from the popular British comedy series "Mind Your Language", but that doesn't belittle the film at all. On the whole, there is hardly any blemishes & by the time it culminates in a predictable yet moving climax you cant help having a smile on your face. Amit Trivedi deserves praise for his lively numbers especially the title track rendered by Shilpa Rao.
What do I say about Sridevi??? I am virtually speechless as she is as brilliant as she always was. I wont be surprised if audience asks whether she was actually away for more than a decade coz she is at ease as ever. Priya Anand who essays the role of Radha is quite a familiar name in the South & before long will be seen in more Hindi films courtesy of her impressive act. Mehdi Nebbou as Laurent is a French actor who gives an equally impressive performance through his expressions which speaks volumes about what he wants to convey though he converses in his native dialect. All the rest have done their parts well starting from Adil Hussain to her colleagues in the English class. Even Big B delivers a beaming performance with his comic timing in his brief role.
Verdict: The film has already created a buzz considering it's Sridevi's comeback, so it should definitely have an encouraging opening. Thanks to brilliant performances & a simple yet endearing storyline, it should go on to be a superhit. In short, dont miss it!!!
English Vinglish is not about learning English. It's about dominance and humiliation towards the typical Indian housewife who is always after happiness of her family and her family doesn't care but neglects all the time. A feminist work with a great message. Sari is not the symbol of suppression or witless woman.. it's about guts over fear.. "Radha, mujhe pyar ki jarurot nahi hai, jarurat hai to sirf thori ijjat ki" express all the sufferings of Sashi..
I appreciate Gauri Sinde for her outstanding debut.. Good story good direction.
Sri Devi? Well, I was surprised to see such excellent performance.. wow! Really a good movie..
One more thing, Language is not important for communication but comfort or interest to communicate.