Movie Review: ENGLISH VINGLISH (2012)
In my lifetime, there have been very few instances of legendary artists, retiring, and then coming back into the fold of what they do best. Growing up I remember watching movies by Sridevi. She was always sweet and great and a pretty decent actress. However, it’s even more amazing when she comes out of retirement after 15 years with an amazing movie in ENGLISH VINGLISH. Here’s my Movie Review…
Blank Page Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
ENGLISH VINGLISH tackles a topic that, surprisingly hasn’t been dealt much in Indian movies thus far; that of English as a 2nd language, and the difficulties that come with it. Gauri Shinde is an amazing Director who is able to pull off this movie with such sensible sweet-ness and it leaves one speechless. It comes as no surprise that this movie is by the same team as PAA & CHEENI KUM.
Sridevi plays Shashi, a typical Indian housewife with 2 kids and a businessman husband. She’s dutiful, respectful, traditional and has no clue of the English language. Given the new generation and modernization of the world… Shashi is often ridiculed and mocked for her inability to speak English, which prevents her from participating in certain aspects of her life, like Parent-Teacher conferences. How a mother can feel detached and disrespected due to this communication barrier, is handled amazingly in ENGLISH VINGLISH.
A trip to New York for her niece’s wedding, provides an opportunity for Shashi to take a crash course in English… and the experiences she has in doing so… changes her life forever. This… is ENGLISH VINGLISH… and it’s amazing.
It’s such a simple premise, done so amazingly that the audience is taken through a journey of all the emotional spectrums of life. Everything from lighthearted moments, to tears invoking emotional scenes to insane sequences of endearment is what ENGLISH VINGLISH is full of.
Writer & Director Gauri Shinde superbly does the writing and dialogues, and the performances from each actor reflect the story that much more. Sridevi is in fine form and doesn’t seem to have missed a step in her 15-year absence from the Industry. She looks and performs so brilliantly, that I hope this was a permanent comeback and not a one off, so that she continues to teach this new generation a li’l something about acting.
ENGLISH VINGLISH excels because it takes a simple story and shows us how terrifying it much be for someone who doesn’t speak a word of English to be living in this day and age. A handicap where the simple act of ordering a coffee + sandwich in English is such a horrible experience that it can leave one in tears, is not thought about by the rest of us.
This is truly a great universal film, to be enjoyed by South Asians and non-South Asians alike, as it’s a take that can be related to by anyone for whom English is a 2nd language. Shashi’s journey might mirror that of countless others and ENGLISH VINGLISH can go from being an entertaining film to an inspirational one.