“Slice of Life” has been off late my favorite cinematic genre. Be it “Wake up Sid” or “English Vinglish”, the magic of these movies lies in the fashion in which finer nuances of life are captured. The biggest advantage “English Vinglish” has is its storyline –which will be immediate connect to all Indians particularly middle class women –who more often than not have struggled to speak English – which unfortunately is one of the basic qualifying criteria for being a good mother to their kids or equal spouse to their husbands.
“English Vinglish “traces the story of one such house-wife and a caring mother, Shashi, proficient not only in her house-hold work, but also runs a small in-house business of supplying “Ladoo” in marriages successfully. But all these are not good enough, to rank herself equal, among her husband & kids. So she finds her confidence gets rebuked at slightest instances, when she fails to spur out English. While she silently suffers the pain, her family largely remains aloof or chooses to overlook the same. But destiny changes, when Shashi embarks upon a journey alone to New York, to get her niece successfully married and in the process, ends up discovering a new her, oozing with confidence.
Life is also very strange, when we don’t find love & respect among our close ones; it often comes from unexpected quarters who ends up making us feel special. As Shashi finds such warmth in her co-mates in English Class or a staunch supporter in her niece, who supports her in her mission to learn English. It takes her a while to digest the fact that someone random finds her special. The movie captures beautifully small moments of joy without getting too melodramatic or preachy at any point of time. The movie is light at heart with good dose of humour. The music of the film is so soothing to the ears, and perfectly blends with the storyline of the movie. The moments of joy of Shashi when she celebrates small victories over English language with her co-class mates, or her feel-good moments with French classmate and dilemma at the same time, forms the high points of the movie.
Sridevi acts as if she was born to play Shashi. One would fall short of adjectives to describe the élan with which she plays the role – in one word “impeccable” – her eyes almost traces the graph of the story – from her pain to joy or her dilemma to confidence. Truly, class is permanent. Always believe to make a great film, supporting cast has to be equally strong – and “English Vinglish” can boast of each of them. Be it Mehdi Nebbou as her French admirer or Adil Hussain as a insensitive husband or her empathetic niece, each of them are stellar in their individual performances. The fact that each of the character is so well defined only adds to the realistic value of the film.
Final words of the film needs to be reserved for the hero of the film- Gauri Shinde – who has crafted this masterpiece – Take a bow, lady !!!! While the credit rolls, it drives home two very important point – if you love some-one or vice versa, that doesn’t give you a right to treat him or her as door-mat, respect is as important as love and if it takes a French suitor to make a Indian wife or mother to make her realize her true self and most importantly serves as a wakeup call for their husbands, so be it!!!!!!