Millennium Post

The language trump card

Remember those nice housewives who cook like a dream, make sure the bratty kids have tiffin every morning, serve the husbands tea even before they have time to have their coffee and yes...make laddoos? With diamond studs in place hand in hand with the bindi and mangalsutra, Shashi Godbole [Sridevi] is exactly that prototype. And pilling on, what can perhaps be called, a cliche, she doesn’t know how to speak English.

Managing her perfect little family in Pune, Shashi is a great woman – but her only fault seems to be that language barrier that plagues so many Indians. And that only little chink in her armour embarrasses her daughter, [perhaps – we could be wrong] makes her husband come home late and just compliment her cooking – ‘She was born to make laddoos...’ he says.

English Vinglish has all the ingredients of the stereotypical lets-triumph-over-odds flick, throwing in a fistful of woman power. But the best part of the movie is the fact that it doesn’t go overboard on either the emotions or the preachy business. No lessons like – we all must emancipate ourselves or such blah. Thank God.

Sridevi clearly could not have chosen a better come back film – the role seems to be tailor made for her. Despite our obvious bewilderment regarding what the hell botox has done to that pretty face – Shashi Godbole dreamwalks her way in to our hearts as she discovers her self and soul in New York city.

A motley crew of students who join the ‘learn english in four weeks’ classes, a husband who loves her but doesn’t quite know how to show it, an adorable son who needs a spanking or two, a daughter who needs a good ear tweaking, a doting elder sister and a spunky neice – Shashi has it all sorted.

Her English vinglish, diary vairy, stumbling through an alien city and and an alien language – Shashi steals the show.  Sridevi’s halting english, emotions flitting perfectly across her face, her stride that gets more and more confident by the passing scene – she’s a delight to watch. Has always been. The cute French guy in class Laurent [Mehdi Nebbou] is absolutely delectable – he’s a cook and thus we use the adjective [swear!].

Amitabh Bachchan in a little cameo is hilarious. Ashvin Matthew as Shashi’s daughter’s class teacher is spot on. The director, Gauri Shinde hits full scores with her casting.

Worth a watch. Totally.
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