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‘English Vinglish’ – A film review !

sridevi-english-vinglish

‘Actress Sridevi started her career as a child artist in M.A. Thirumugham’s devotional Thunaivan at a tender age of four and continued to act as a child artist in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films. She made her Bollywood debut as a child artist in the hit Julie (1975) and played her first adult role in Moondru Mudichu (1976). Sridevi quickly established herself as the top actress of the South Indian industry with films like 16 Vayathinile (1977), Sigappu Rojakkal (1978), Varumayin Niram Sivappu (1980), Meendum Kokila (1981) and Moondram Pirai (1982). However, Sridevi’s main success came as a Bollywood actress with award-winning critically acclaimed roles in commercially successful films including Sadma (1983), Nagina (1986), Mr. India (1987), Chandni (1989), ChaalBaaz (1989), Lamhe (1991), Khuda Gawah (1992) and Judaai (1997). Her performances in such films established her as one of the leading actress of Hindi Cinema. Sridevi was born to Ayyapan and Rajeswari on 13 August 1963 in sivakasi, Tamil Nadu. Her father was a lawyer. She has a sister and two step brothers. Sridevi married Boney Kapoor, a film producer and the elder brother of actors Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Kapoor, in 1996. They have two daughters, Jhanvi and Khushi (Krishna). Her mother tongue is Tamil.’ ( Source: Wikipedia)

So acting is not any effort for an accomplished actress like Sridevi. Incidentally, I met her once in person at the Meenambakkam airport (chennai) way back in 1985. I remember my meeting with her very well, she was very shy and was accompanied by her sister Lata all the time.

English Vinglish – is a movie depicting how an un-complaining housewife accommodates others’ interest first prior to her own interest. Indian housewife has stereotyped her role as a Giver under all circumstances and she finds immense happiness in helping her family members more than herself, be it her children or her husband. Shashi ( Sridevi’s character in the film) is affectionate, emotional and does not know to speak English. Her not knowing English embarrasses her daughter a lot at the PTA meeting in her school. Things come to a head when Shashi reluctantly travels alone to New York to help with preparations for her niece’s wedding. Humiliated while struggling to order a coffee and sandwich at a Manhattan café, she impulsively enrolls for a four-week English speaking course at a language school.

From this point on, the film resembles an episode of the popular BBC sitcom ‘Mind Your Language’, whose laughs are derived from a motley bunch of foreigners wrestling with English. Typically here in English Vinglish, the class comprises a Mexican nanny, a Pakistani cab driver, a Chinese hairstylist, a South Indian software engineer, an angry black kid, and a dishy French chef named Laurent (Mehdi Nebbou) who’s instantly attracted to Shashi.

Sujatha Kumar as Shashi’s older sister oozes warmth ( she looks like Pearl Padamseee from Hindi movie ‘Baton Baton Mein’, 1979), and both kids playing Shashi’s children are spot-on. The younger child (son) is bright with spontaneous behavior. There’s also a delightful cameo by Amitabh Bachchan on the flight to New York traveling with neighbor Sridevi and Amitabh steals the scene with his impeccable comic timing and natural self.

The movie is a very light and entertaining one .. that I enjoyed watching along with my wife. There are no fight scenes, no blatant item number songs for a change. Right On ! Go and watch the movie.

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About Raman Ramamurthy

I am a Management consultant, an avid reader, play Lawn tennis in my leisure time and love Music. Presently, I am settled in India along with my wife and my son.

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