English Vinglish

I liked this movie.

I admit I was prejudiced against it. I had seen the trailer before, and it seemed to be the movie of a housewife/homemaker settled in the USA trying to learn English so that she won’t be socially awkward. It seemed to me a rather trite plot in a slightly different setting.

I was dragged to the movie by family, and I entered the theater all set to diss the movie two  hours later. But, I liked the movie, and enjoyed the time watching it.

Not that I was wrong in the triteness of the plot (I got the settled in the US part wrong, but that didn’t make the storyline much more exciting), but there are other factors in cinema. In this case, there were three factors which made the movie a pleasure: the extremely endearing Shreedevi, the down-to-earth performances of all the other actors, and last but not the least, the glorious shots of Manhattan.

Shreedevi, or is it Sridevi, returns to cinema after many years, and she plays the role of the housewife very well. Her eyes remain as expressive as ever, and thankfully the director Gauri Shinde doesn’t let the expressions transgress to those of facetitious stupidity (as Shekhar Kapur had allowed in Mr. India!). It is hard not to egg on the character she plays. The other members of the cast give very decent performances; none of them go over-the-top, a risk that many Hindi movies run. There are no other ‘stars’ in the movie, and everyone, especially the French Laurent, play their part well.

The only thing which rankled me was the behaviour of the teenage daughter towards her mother. The blatant hostility didn’t fit the milieu, and seemed quite forced to lend some credibility. However, some other co-viewers disagreed with me here stating they knew of such cases in real life. Oh well.

In summary, I think it’s a movie which will keep one refreshed throughout the duration, but don’t expect discussions post viewing. And, this may be a big plus for the majority of the audience who want just that. Finally, the title track is just lovingly catchy. Hum it.

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