Movie: English Vinglish
Director: Gauri Shinde
Cast: Sridevi, Adil Hussain
Jagran rating: Excellent
Story line: After 15-long years ‘Hawa hawai’ girl Sridevi has again hit the screen with Gauri Shinde's directorial venture 'English Vinglish' to woo her fans. With this movie Sridevi has proved that a sabbatical of 15 years could cloud her charm and acting skills.
English Vinglish is the story of a Pune based devoted, caring housewife Shashi Godbole (Sridevi) living with her husband (Adil Hussain), son Sagar and daughter Sapna. Shahsi is traditional housewife who loves cooking and also runs a part time business of making laddoo. Her laddoo making skill is the only thing for which she is adored. Her only drawback, if you want to call it, is that she's not well-versed with the English language. While Shashi's educated husband finds it too easy to order for anything to her wife, her teenage daughter is embarrassed with her mother, as she does not know to speak English. Though Shahsi tries her best to make everyone of her family happy, she has to face humiliation for her inability to speak English.
A five-week vacation in the US, a clandestine crash course in English and best of all, a chance to feel wanted and special when a fellow-classmate, a quietly striking French chef, gives Shashi the attention she doesn't get from her husband. Neither speak each other's language - their inept English is the only communicating mode.
Thumbs up: At 135 minutes, English Vinglish is an absolute delight, a fabulous fable of a woman's self-actualization. No scene's out of place, no character unnecessary and no dialogue forced.
Shinde wins over the audience at the story level itself. And then as a bonus, she proves herself a master storyteller. Sure, Shinde gets a tremendous boost from cinematographer Laxman Utekar who captures New York in its quiet mellow state of bustling grace; composer Amit Trivedi's music simply and fluently melts into the theme and storytelling; and editor Hemanti Sarkar cuts the footage the way Shashi would cut her vegetables, precisely, lovingly and without anxiety. The miracle of watching "English Vinglish" confer such a supple and contoured shape to Shashi's life is attributable to the director's high-concept theme and treatment. Shinde abhors overstatement.
Sridevi is the film's backbone. To her good fortune, and ours, the film is supported by a uniformly impeccable cast. This actress simply vanishes into her character living every breath of Shashi's voyage from laddoo-making to self-actualisation. Without Sridevi, English Vinglish would have still worked, but the actress makes the film what it is. At even 49, her beauty remains untouched, the age only adding to the persona rather than taking away from it.
Adil Hussain is perfetc as Sridevi’s educated, authoritarian husband. Mehdi Nebbou, who plays the French chef, is extremely charming and scenes between him and Sridevi are among the film's best.
Thumbs down: It’s hard for us to find any loopholes in this movie. Shahsi did not give us a single scope to come out from her world and to struggle to find out drawbacks.
It’s a true family entertainer and if you're a Sridevi fan, you can't miss it. If you watch only two films every year make sure you see "English Vinglish" twice!