There is one moment in English Vinglish , which will make all daughters cringe – not in distaste , not due to the cliche , but in remorse – remorse due to the fact that in the process of growing up ; or rather acting grown up , we’ve hurt the one woman who has mattered the most , in so many ways that a simple sorry would not suffice.
I discovered this fact , 12 years and numerous excuses later , in a multiplex watching what was Sridevi’s comeback movie , accompanied by my loving family – rockstar dad , handsome dude of a brother and my normal down to earth mother – who was brought to life , so beautifully by a lovely leading lady in so potent a canvas that by the end of two hours , I wanted to get up , give my mother a huge hug and say sorry for all that I dished out to her during my terrible teens , just for the fact that she belonged to a different generation and couldn’t relate to my hep thoughts. What I settled for , was a lovely smile and a lump inside my throat as I walked out of the theater , hand in hand with the lady in question.
Shashi Godbole is what one would call a modern woman . She is independent , runs a business , takes care of her family and is a cool mum to a sweet little boy and a cute , oversmart teenaged girl , who wears shortskirts , goes to cafe coffee day and has a grudge against her mother just for the fact that the lady’s English is not one of her strong points , despite the fact that but for her language , her mother is one modern , easy going woman who knows to give her children enough space.
In one of the most endearing scenes in the movie , Shashi helps her daughter find her scrapbook even while not physically present at home, assures her that her privacy has been respected only for her daughter to hit back at her weak point – English and the mother inside her crumbles totally.In an awesome moment that follows , she rants out her frustration in Hindi , to a handsome French cook who loves her and is her classmate at English classes , only to order a coffee , sandwich and water in pitch perfect english in the same breath. English Vinglish is littered with so many lovely moments like these , that you end up forgiving Gauri Shinde , for some of the trite , done to death components like a gay english teacher , the brash Pakistani taxi driver and the ayyo spouting Tamil software engineer who loves his Idlis and Amma.
English Vinglish , has been categorized as a movie about how a woman learns to speak the King’s language and in a way it is – but what the movie really talks about is relationships . A relationship between strangers on a flight – brought to life by the brilliant Bachchan Sr , in an endearing cameo ; A relationship between an insecure wife and a well meaning , emotionally cruel but loving husband – the superb Adil Hussain ; A relationship between a woman looking not for love , but respect and a man alien to her culture and country who falls in love with her, despite the communication barrier – a doomed love , never to succeed – Mehdi Nebbou , him of the shy smile , vulnerable eyes and lovely accent – winning hearts with his portrayal as the French cook looking to open a French-Indian restaurant with a woman having eyes like coffee and milk ; a relationship between sisters who envy eachother’s skills ; A relationship between a loving mother and her cute mommy’s boy ; A love-hate deal between a teenager and her well meaning modern mother ; A relationship between an insecure husband and his lovely wife – watch out for that penultimate moment when Satish asks Sashi if she loves him and pat she replies – ” Why are you asking even ? Would I give you two Ladoos otherwise and btw , thanks for the saree – good choice ” – Husband and Wife dynamics 101 explained in a minute.
All the above mentioned relationships have one thing in common – A lovely lady called Sridevi , making a comeback 15 years after she’d shut shop and my oh my ; what a comeback she’s made. She makes you teary eyed as the vulnerable mother and insecure wife . She makes you laugh as the friendly aunt and cool mum .She makes you fall in love with her – those huge eyes a mirror to her feelings and she makes you go awwww as a strong woman trying to say no to this lovely man without hurting his feelings.Its no wonder that this lady was the only woman to be called superstar – and she deserves this accolade and much much more.
Talking about performances , the supporting cast is lovely too . Be it Mehdi Nebbou or Adil Hussain or the lovely Priya Anand- the actors bring to life the normal human beings we see day to day – flawed yet perfect ; normal yet special. But what stays with you after the movie is Sridevi’s lovely vulnerable brown eyes , NewYork in its full glory , Amit Trivedi’s excellent music score and that brilliant take on a mother – daughter relationship that every woman of my generation can identify with.
Watch English Vinglish atleast once . Its not only a great movie , but also a great way for a daughter to say sorry to her Mother , for all those little wounds caused in the battle while coming of age !