Shashi Godbole (Sridevi) is your typical “perfect housewife” – she leaves her own cup of tea unattended to pour her husband a cup, she takes care of the children, and she’s a fabulous cook (laddoos are her specialty). If there’s one place she falls short, it’s in her ability to speak English – she has been on the receiving end of several disparaging remarks thanks to her unfamiliarity with the language. So when a family wedding takes her to New York, Shashi enrolls in an English class, and there begins her new journey.
English Vinglish has received much interest as being Sridevi’s comeback vehicle, so does the film live up to the hype? Read our Pros and Cons list to find out… or rather, just the Pros list because I can’t think of a single negative thing to say about this movie!
1. Shashi Godbole. It’s no easy feat to make the audience care about a character – but you will definitely care about Sridevi’s character. Yes, on the surface she may seem one-dimensional and “perfect”, but her vulnerability, her insecurities and her mannerisms bring her to life. You’ll root for her every step of the way; her triumphs will feel like personal triumphs, her setbacks like your own.
2. Those lovely moments. Come to think of it, the script is exceedingly simple – lady does not know English, lady wants to learn English, lady enrolls in English classes, etc. But what makes this film excel is the moments that will put a smile on your face (and, sometimes, shed a tear). My favourite scene from the movie is when Shashi and her French classmate, Laurent (Mehdi Nebbou) have an entire conversation in Hindi and French respectively, and then comment that sometimes it’s easier when the other person doesn’t understand.
3. It’s feel good. I guarantee you will come out of the cinema with a smile on your face and a bounce in your step. While this film deals with a specific struggle (Shashi’s quest to learn English), the overarching lesson is the value of loving yourself. The best part, though, is that the movie does not get dull, nor does it drag – it’s a concise film where every moment is worth it.
4. Sridevi. 15 years away from the camera and you’d never realize it. She’s perfect in this role; immersing herself completely into the character of Shashi and bringing it alive in the smallest of ways: her tiny gasp at seeing a couple’s PDA; her blush when her own husband tries to hug her; and, later, her confident – and distinctly American – walk through Manhattan, wearing a trench coat and drinking her coffee to-go.
5. Gauri Shinde. There’s a heroine on-screen, and there’s one off-screen. Gauri Shinde has a smashing debut, and she deserves most of the credit for this film – she proves that you don’t need to have a complicated script, an elaborate set, fancy dialogue or a humongous star cast to make a film memorable. On the contrary, English Vinglish shines because of its simplicity and how relatable it is.
6. The music. And to complement this lovely film is a great soundtrack by Amit Trivedi. His peppy, happy music goes perfectly with the tone of the film, and I’m almost certain that you will have It’s all about English Vinglish, oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh stuck in your head for hours afterwards.
Do you really need one? Go watch it! Now!