Monday, October 8, 2012

English Vinglish

Sridevi was nation's heart-throb during the 80s. I wasn't born then. But I need no reason to believe. As a child, I enjoyed watching her films on television particularly Mr. India, Chaalbaaz and Chandni. Today when I watched her reappear in a new film, I could easily connect her character Shashi to my mother or any other housewife in this country. As she is introduced to us with her glittering face which is brighter than the visuals in the opening scene, I could hear some applause around in the theater which was half-filled with elder people who would have definitely seen more movies of her than I have.  And that's how she should be resumed to everyone's current favorite sweetheart, profoundly!

We have been growing so outward and selfishly, given the age of consumerism, that the old tradition are considered too primitive and are often being subjected to ridicule or neglect. Western culture and its language has gulped down the rest of the world so badly that not being able to speak a language can put you to shame. Why is English such an important language to learn for a housewife who sells delicious homemade ladoos? May be only to know that what she does makes her an entrepreneur. Though that's self-motivation enough, the real motive lies behind changing the perception of those who are judgmental and look down at the non-English speakers as a minority. That is where Amitabh Bachchan in his very humble cameo pitches in the righteous words, "Time aa gaya hai, yeh angrez ab humse darein. Jo bhi chahiye, befikr, bindaas aur besharm ho kar maangein." This lesson of consumerism is rightly taught. As we see in the end, Shashi changes her mind to read Hindi newspaper instead of an English one during her flight back to India. Because learning English was never her primary mission. But teaching others a lesson of gratitude was the one which she accomplishes. She hasn't changed. But certainly she has changed others.

This film touches many problems, not only in a life of regular Indian housewife but also in the society and their aspects, making it a patchwork of many melodramatic dialogues, forced-in moments (take the one when Sapna calls up Shashi only to ask where her scrapbook is!), cliches (a gay in a pink shirt?), overdose of educating lessons (which at some point make it like a Doordarshan program), along with some palpable emotions (particularly in the scene when Shashi jitters in a coffee shop). Shinde handles this with a fresh appeal towards it, and a radical change is what we are looking forward with this film.

English Vinglish is Gauri Shinde's social-entrepreneurship project which has everything (or probably too many things) in it to be a tax-free film and a fair contender for National Film Award this year.

1 comment:

Nishant said...

Quite agree with your views on the film. What I liked best was the fact that it depicted quite realistic & believable characters