I remember English Vinglish as one of the first films that had a great story, relatability factor imbibed with a social message. One of the most iconic Sridevi characters, Shashi Godbole reminded us so much of our own mothers. A film that made us laugh and left us with tears, English Vinglish celebrates its 10 years of existence this year. On this momentous occasion, writer and director Gauri Shinde speaks exclusively to Team MissMalini and shares her thoughts behind making the film, auctioning late Sridevi’s sarees for a noble cause of young women’s education and many more things.

Gauri Shinde

Read the excerpts from the interview:

About the first thought of making the film, Gauri said…

I remember it clearly, I was in New York. I had gone there specifically thinking that I wanted to start writing. I was little frustrated that nothing was happening. I was thinking of coming back to India. Just while I was crossing the road, I had no idea how the thought came into my mind without any correlation. I was thinking about my mom and thought there was something there, something in that struggle. I don’t know, maybe I missed her at that time. I spoke to this friend, who was also involved in my filmmaking journey. That person suggested to ideate and not to go back. I wasn’t really sure but when this thought came to my mind. I told my friend that we should do something about this. I called up Balki and asked his opinion on this idea. I started writing and I had the name Shashi in my mind. While going back to India, I actually saw a bus with a banner of learn English, just like how it was shown in the film. I thought that this is the sign from the universe that I am on a correct path.

About the idea behind auctioning the sarees worn by Sridevi in the film, the filmmaker shared…

This was little after the film was released there was so much love for the sarees. From my aunts to many people liked the sarees worn by Sridevi in the film. It was like a comeback of sarees. Then I realized that there is so much value when Sri is wearing them. It became much more than just a costume. I wanted to do an event around it in the first few years. I had always wished to have a fashion show where Sridevi walks the ramp wearing her sarees. Sridevi would have wanted the same. Sadly that is not possible anymore so this auction is important and very special to me.

Gauri Shinde

She further added…

It is a good way to keep the memory alive of a film as the sarees have so much love associated with them. Instead of keeping the sarees with me, I am sharing it with people who will be able to get benefit out of it. It also matches with the theme of the film which is education and women empowerment. I wanted to go to right charity where I wanted at least a few lives to be impacted in a better way.

While remembering the most memorable day on the English Vinglish set, Gauri said…

We are watching the making of the film yesterday, It was the last day of the film where we shot the wedding scene. It was such high energy on that day, it was supremely cold and entire cast and crew got up and danced on Navrai song from the film and there was love and warmth, we felt like a family for all those days we shot. We still continue to be. I can never forget that.

Gauri Shinde and Sridevi

On the things that she admired in Sri, she stated…

She was a magical, superlative, talented being.

On things that she learnt while making the film, Gauri shared….

Continue to be honest and sincere with whatever I do. That is the energy that I got from everyone while I was working with everyone on the set. When you are honest and sincere about what you want to do or what you want to say, then that goal everyone tries to achieve. I always feel that is the only way one can move ahead.

When I asked her if Sri was the first choice, she said…

She wasn’t in my conscience, I was really struggling to find someone who could do that part. I was not feeling good about it, thinking that there is no one out there who was of a certain age, and in that struggle she magically happened and everything fell in place.

Well, as they say and the rest is history. I feel English Vinglish is one of those films that can make you smile if you are feeling low. A film to cherish forever.