Cast: Sridevi, Priya Anand, Adil Hussain, Mehdi Nebbou, Neelu Sodhi and Amitabh Bachchan
Writer, Screenplay and Director: Gauri Shinde
Release Date: October 5th, 2012
Rating: 3.5 stars
Marking her comeback to Hindi cinema after 14 years and Tamil cinema after 26 years, Sridevi returns to the big screen with English Vinglish. The film was released both in Hindi and Tamil simultaneously on the 5th of October. With her directorial debut, Gauri Shinde makes a heroine into a homemaker and then again into a heroine!
At the age of 49, Sridevi looks extremely beautiful and has maintained her self very well. Audiences will definitely miss her over the top and glamorous personalities as Hawa Hawai in Mr. India, Manju in Chaalbaaz and Kajal in Judai. Nonetheless, in English Vinglish, her portrayal of Shashi Godbole, the average Indian homemaker who is stuck in the struggle of providing for the happiness of her husband and children whilst forgetting her own self is extremely authentic and genuine.
Shashi lives with her husband Satish (Adil Hussain) and two children in a simple household. Due to her lack of knowledge for the English language, Satish and their teenage daughter often humiliate Shashi by laughing at her English and mimicking her improper pronunciations. The family leaves India for New York City to attend a wedding where she is further hurt and embarrassed. She enrolls into an English learning program and befriends many more individuals who are going through a similar situation. Some emotional and comical incidents later, she is able to regain her identity and finally feel good about herself as she mentions during the climax of the film.
Cinematographer Laxman Utekar has done a fabulous job in portraying the beautiful skyline and upbeat streets of New York City, where most of the film is shot. Most of the actors in English Vinglish are new faces in Bollywood including Tamil & Telegu cinema actress Priya Anand. Amitabh Bachchan provides with a humorus and meaningful special cameo appearance in the beginning of the film. Amit Trivedi’s music is very uplifting and cheerful. It balances the sentiments on screen positively. The song ‘Manhattan’ provides a great look into the hustle and bustle of the streets of New York City and is a great anthem!
Some scenes and aspects do seem a little stretched after the interval but Sridevi’s strict discipline to the character will not let you doze off! It is a simple screenplay and the writing fits the characters and their emotions to most of the extent. Gauri Shinde has a good future in the industry indeed. In its opening weekend English Vinglish netted INR 27 crore worldwide in its opening weekend. Ticket sales will continue trending the success of women-centric films in the current market. The film attracts audiences both in and out of India and supports global cinema.
English Vinglish is a story that many families can relate to. Myself, being a New Yorker of South Asian background can relate to it on a more personal level. This film will touch many hearts and in the process, bring families closer. It will teach you to respect your mother and never think less of her in any way. English Vinglish attempts to decrease the distance between the generation and cultural gap intertwining children and their parents in our modern world. Audiences of all ages would appreciate this film and should definitely be watched with your whole family!