Saturday, October 06, 2012

English Vinglish


Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 5th October, 2012
Time : 135 minutes
Director & Writer : Gauri Shinde; Music : Amit Trivedi
Starring : Sridevi, Priya Anand, Mehdi Nebbou, Adil Hussain, Cory Hibbs, Sumeet Vyas, Ruth Aguilar, Maria Romano, Damian Thomson, Neelu Sodhi, Sulabha Deshpande, Shivansh Kotia, Navika Kotia

For someone who has been born and brought up on English medium schools, and I don’t say this proudly, but for whom English is his first language of thought, it is very hard to put self in Sridevi’s shoes. Someone, who doesn’t know English, but in all other ways is very competent. Someone, who is constantly the butt of family jokes and jibes, especially by the husband and the rapidly growing daughter.
That the film succeeds in making us feel her angst, and her ways of coping with it, showing the kind of situations she encounters, especially when she goes to New York, is a tribute to the story and the performances, especially the virtuoso acting masterclass by Sridevi, who shows, in more ways than one, that she’s still got it !


The debilitating effect of not knowing the language is brought alive by her mispronounciation of ‘Jazz’, a visit to her daughter’s PTA, her solo trip to New York, handling immigration, her ordeal there buying coffee and various snide ones by both her husband (‘She is born to make laddoo’s’) and her daughter (‘Why did you take my book if you cant read ?’). Redemption arrives when she decides to take English lessons, while in New York, visiting her sister to help with her niece’s wedding. She finds unlikely allies in the sister’s house and a gallant, romantic French fellow student. And suddenly, life is not so bleak anymore.


The film tries hard not to get too sentimental, balancing every tear with a chuckle or a smile. Amitabh Bachchan’s delightful cameo, the other madcap students in the English class, none as zany as Salman Khan, the Pakistani, the cheerful nature of her son, her own special, sari-clad Michael Jackson impersonation, all serve to smoothen out the various trials and tribulations thrown her way.


Sridevi makes you root for her, getting her every expression, every frown, every smile spot on. Most of the other characters are stereotypes – the busy, indifferent husband, the cute son, the gallant Gaul, the bombastic Pakistani etc. But she has shades to her character, moments of weakness followed by instances of strength. Waffling indecision followed by gutsy action.

Isn’t life about communication, rather than the language ? About the message, rather than the medium ? When / How did we get so snobbish about how different people speak, their accents. As the film rightly asks, why have we become so judgemental merely based on the persons attire, language ? Surely there is more to life than that ?

3 comments:

niravsays said...

Very well said , Apurv Sir .

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Anonymous said...

Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.