Arts & Culture, Features

English Vinglish Film Review

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By ­­­ Ekta Mukhi They say you can’t take act out of the actor— once a Bollywood actress, always a Bollywood actress. Sri Devi’s been away from the camera for 15 years, yet she does not fail to deliver and does so with a bang! The film opens with Shashi, played by Sri Devi, who is a Marathi homemaker living in India. She is the perfect mother, wife and daughter-in-law, however, her actions go unappreciated. As most children tend to be embarrassed by their parents, Shashi unable to speak English is constantly teased and made fun off by her children and her husband. She is even insulted when she accompanies her daughter to a parent-teacher meeting at school. The tables turn when Shashi goes to New York to help with her niece’s wedding, and secretly takes a course in English. Shashi meets a handsome and kind French Chef named Laurent (Mehdi Nebbou) in class who immediately finds a connection with her. bollywood_english_vinglish Being the lead protagonist of the film, the English class adventure finds Shashi, without a deliberate search for self-discovery, self worth. Hats off to first time writer/director Gauri Shinde. It takes a lot of courage to cast Sri Devi in your first film with double the expectations to meet, but she does it beautifully. It’s a simple yet poignant story with a very adaptable screenplay. Throughout the film she leaves the audience in fits of laughter. However, the last scene at the said niece’s wedding reception leaves you with a smile on your face and tears in your eyes. Shinde very delicately portrays the relationship between a mother and a child, a husband-wife, and two strangers with mutual admiration for one another. She reminds us of how important it is to support our loved ones, and how it’s okay to let yourself loose, and live a little. Shinde truly does justice to Shashi. 844A5299E9171393F479B3D8DE41 We forget that parents, especially our South Asian mothers had their own identity before they got married, had children and decided to serve us for the rest of their lives. And even though we are in the 21st century today, the relationship between a parent and child rarely changes. Having a family and kids can make you forget who you are and what you’re made of. In times like this we need our loves ones to remind us. After watching English Vinglish, Gauri Shinde’s art of storytelling touched my heart, and I found myself picking up the phone to give my mother a call, just to tell her how much she means to me, and how much I love her. Once again, Sri Devi proves herself, hitting all the right notes and conquering many more hearts.  The film premiered to a sold out crowd in Toronto, at Roy Thompson Hall on the 14th of September 2012. As Chris Patton the president of Fortissomo Films said “these Non-Bollywood types of films are on the cusp of breaking out…I believe you have a lot of exciting filmmakers and new producers- a new generation of film talent who are rejecting the studio structure and big Bollywood films that India is known for”.  With such movies, the journey has begun!    

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