English Vinglish

Directed by: Gauri Shinde

Starring: Sridevi, Mehdi Nebbou, Priya Anand, Adil Hussain

All images courtesy of:www.glamsham.com

Let’s face it, there was no way I wasn’t going to love English Vinglish – Sridevi gliding along the streets of New York City in gorgeous saris and that trademark twinkle in her eyes was always going to be a winning formula. But even more pleasingly was the rest of English Vinglish which proves itself a versatile vehicle of sorts, that not only shoulders the burden of massive expectations but also managed to entertain and inspire. Whether it is Shashi’s journey (both geographical and metaphorical), the way language can be a barrier and a release or just the small one-liners that made the audience smile or pause for thought, English Vinglish has something for everyone.

What I really liked was the understated nature of the film – whilst the canvas is huge, the story is navigated in a very local and charming way that felt very real and had me absorbed at parts entirely which is always a good sign. Furthermore, English Vinglish doesn’t try to overstay or go beyond its remit – the concept of  putting someone into an alien environment so that they learn who they really are appears very simple but is a great deal harder to do as well and as thoroughly as English Vinglish manages to do it.

Of course, a large part of this is down to Sridevi who makes a much awaited and desired return to the silver screen as Shashi. Right from the first frame, Sridevi has that wonderful screen presence that commands attention and doesn’t let it go unless it is by design. Furthermore, the way Sridevi makes Shashi three dimensional so effortlessly is a joy to watch and achieves the impossible task of pleasing the old guard whilst giving a masterclass to the new brigade in the power of a superstar who can act. To be fair, there is no weak link in the cast who are all wonderful but I only had eyes for Sridevi!

2012 is shaping up to be one of the best years in Hindi cinema in recent memory. English Vinglish is a wonderful example of the quality of film we have had this year so far, films which are loyal to the core audience but have a universal appeal that goes to new territories. Beyond that, English Vinglish also serves a template to other actresses returning to films after a break on how to bridge that gap between the past and the present. And if that is not enough, English Vinglish is just a wonderful film to watch. Without a doubt, recommended and to be viewed again and again, English Vinglish is one of my favourite films of 2012 and a welcome return for Sridevi to Hindi cinema. It’s all about english vinglish!

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