‘English Vinglish’ review: Sridevi is impactful

Resham Sengar

After a sabbatical of 15 years, Sridevi has returned to do a meaty role in ‘English Vinglish’ and post watching the film, I have just one word for the actress - FLAWLESS!

Gauri Shinde has donned the director’s hat to tell the story of Sashi (Sridevi), a middle-aged Maharashtrian housewife who earns her own money by making sumptuous ladoos (which happens to be her passion too) and selling them to the connoisseurs. A lot of women would identify with Sashi since she is one of those dedicated yet taken-for-granted homemakers who are ridiculed for their poor linguistic skills by their English speaking family. In the movie, Sashi finds herself being an object of constant potshots by her husband(Adil Hussain), who has little respect for her real talent and her 7th grade daughter who feels ashamed to even introduce her mother to her school folks.

So when an underestimated and belittled Sashi flies off to New York to lend a helping hand at her niece’s wedding, she smartly grabs the opportunity to enroll herself into English speaking classes that promise to teach the language within a period of flat four weeks. In no time, Sashi becomes the most committed student in her class, starts watching English films at night and doing her homework religiously- all to polish her English reading and writing skills and more importantly to earn respect that she duly deserves from her family. In the midst of her literary pursuit, she also finds her classmate cum friend – a Frenchman (an irresistible Mehdi Nebbou) getting attracted to her plain simple personality. Yet, despite several barriers that come her way, Sashi manages to achieve her goal (that includes ordering her meal at the café with super confidence) which could be an inspiration to many aspiring English learners.

Going beyond the ‘ordinary’ story of ‘English Vinglish’, it is a movie that teaches a lot of life lessons. First, it gives a peek into the feelings of those who are not good at reading and writing the language and find themselves becoming a subject of disdain and jibe whether at home or in public. Second, it is a crash course on mannerisms for all those ‘refined’ husbands and children out there who believe that the woman of the house is only worth taking nonsense; notwithstanding the fact that she goes out of her way to please them, without a complaint. Third, like I said before, the film is all about dedication towards one’s aims and a relentless pursuit towards your dream, come what may.

Sridevi as the de-glam Sashi looks completely stunning and gets very much into the skin of her character in the film. The way she emotes when she is looked down upon for her poor angrezi is worthy of a good round of applause. It is safe to say that after ‘Sadma’, Chaalbaaz’ and ‘Chandni’, she will always be remembered for her versatile act in ‘English Vinglish’. Clearly, this movie is one of her best works till date.

Moving on to film’s direction, kudos to Gauri Shinde for narrating a story which leaves such an impact on the viewers. Also, a special thanks to her (she has also written the story) for making a film on such a unique storyline which apparently has a close connection to the life of Shinde’s mother and perhaps, many other Indian women out there.

Amit Trivedi has given cool and foot tapping music to the film while designer Sabyasachi has done his job very well in dressing up Sridevi in colorful khadi sarees that suit her age and role.

Overall, ‘English Vinglish’ is a complete family entertainer and worth every penny! Yes, Sridevi is back!

Rating: 4 cheers to Sridevi, Gauri Shinde and the complete cast for their perfect job!

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