Review: English Vinglish (India 2012)

English Vinglish is a cute and charming movie that has already chosen a single thread that it will delve into. Namely, that of the main protagonist not knowing english and the corresponding social stigma attached to it in India. All the other threads don’t get their own depth but are however neatly tied in to support the main one.

The only problem in Sridevi’s life is that she doesn’t know English. All her problems with her husband and daughter are plainly due to one reason only. So when this is solved, when she gives a short heartfelt speech in English, everyone in her world falls back in love with her.

Very flawed plot really, and one that doesn’t yield any kind of substance. But here, the treatment of the movie saves it. The art direction is superb, the ensemble of supporting actors are great, costumes are excellent. And the direction is a job well done. So we are all blindsided (I have learned to be thankful for this even)

We all know what snobs Indians really are. The old imperialist ideas of how knowing English and being able to converse in the Queen’s language is the penultimate of all things are dictats we all adhere by. Interestingly, we do not realize that a large chunk of the world doesn’t speak English at all. Including the snobs of the snobs in Europe (the French/German are the worst). Add to that South America, Africa, Asia, and what do you have?

This movie could have been a brilliant satire instead it settles for small wit. This however increased its reach I am sure. Which is good thing for all of us. One of the more sensible movies to come out of Bollywood (here my barometer is Ready, Bodyguard, Ra.One etc)

Good performances all around.

Sridevi is a style of acting. You either love it or hate it. If you love it, this movie is a treat. If you hate it, do not go near this movie. Adil Hussain has got a decent enough role. But really for the entire length of the movie he is our main villain. Sadly, this means our sympathies are never with him. We can only really empathize with the main character in this movie. Unlike say what would happen with a movie like Masoom.  So in that way he is short changed. Hopefully we will get to see more of him in varied roles.

One is reminded of the movie Mitr by Revathy which gave the mind much more to chew about. English Vinglish is one of those aptly titled movies. It is exactly entirely about that. English and Vinglish.

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