English Vinglish- Praise for Gauri Shinde

Hi my beautiful readers,
Just watched this fantastic film and could’nt help but share my thoughts on it with you guys. It’s a sort of compulsion thing, when it’s in the heart, it needs an outlet or I might explode into alphabets. Hence, the post šŸ˜€

Directed by Gauri Shinde, this Bollywood film was released last year (I apologize for watching it soooooo late). To be honest, I only decided to watch because of Sridevi, my all time favorite actress. Since I live in the UK and as a writer and PhD student, stay around books and libraries most of the time, I usually do not keep up with new releases and reviews etc. I had no idea what the film was about and a bleak idea from the namesake suggested that a middle aged woman might decide to learn some English; but the moive is much more than that.

I completely relate to the way Sridevi’s family treats her in the movie. The husband does not appreciate her efforts and has reduced her down to cooking. Her teenage daughter is embarassed to be around her because she does not speak in English and has a very simplistic attitude towards life and people. I remember while growing up, this happened in my home too. Although my mother is a Post Graduate in Education and has taught us both kids herself (never got outside help), we still made fun of her sometimes for the accent. For example, the word America, is AM-RI-KA in her accent. Other similar words are RAS-BHA-RI for raspberry or photography is FOTO-GRA-PHY. We still point out and try to teach her the correct pronounciation and she would try to enact me and we all would laugh together.

But I can understand that if my mother would not know the language at all, how would she feel. I remember, when there were parent teacher meetings at my school, my mother would dress nice and be careful around the classroom and teachers in order to make me proud. I was always proud to take my mother around my school and friends because my mother was more qualified than most others. The movie made me see this fact, now, after years, that all those days in school, when I was trying to work hard through my studies, my mother was also working hard to keep up with my progress.

Apart from the motherly angle, as a woman, this movie shows exactly how under-appreciated housewives are. Just because they do not go out of the house and fight with the world, does not make their job any less difficult. In fact it is the most difficult job in the world because the duties are endless, there is no progression and housewives are least appreciated. But the movie shows the efforts of a simple housewife to learn a new language, just to win her family’s love. The sad part was that her husband and daughter respected her only after she learnt the language. It is great when a woman wants to learn something, regardless of her age. But it must be heart breaking to learn something to prove your worth to your own family. But I guess, it is real and it does happen in most homes.

I also loved the scene when the visa officer asks Sridevi that how is she going to cope in America if she does not know English. The Indian visa officer says the same way you are living in India without knowing Hindi. That was a very simple and witty answer to these visa people who give hell to poor applicants. And ofcourse, undeniably, Amitabh Bachan was a delight. Both him and Sridevi are real gold, they just never lose their charm. The cast of the English class was also chosen excellently. The inclusion of gay talk, the Chinese and Spanish female students and the Indian and Pakistani male students were all very entertaining. Indians and Pakistanis are literally family when they are abroad. I wish the people living in India and Pakistan could feel that way about each other.

Laurent, the french guy played by Mehdi Nebbou, a French actor was similar to the character of Pierce Brosnan in the Hollywood movie I don’t know how she does it. A handsome devil around a middle aged wife and mother. It was beautiful to see that she spoke in Hindi to him and he spoke in French, neither of them understood each others words but understood the emotions. It is sweet that emotion does not need language. It comes from the heart and reaches deep into the heart. We are so afraid in life to open up about our feelings that we just keep burrying them in our hearts. An outlet of those feelings with someone who will get the sentiments behind the outburst can be therapeutic.

After a long time, I have seen a movie which can be enjoyed with the family without vulgar songs and abusive language. It has an empowering message for homely women, that if they want, they can achieve anything in life and they are not less than anyone else. All they need is the will to change things around. It has a message for teenagers to respect their parents for who they are, however they are. Specially mothers. No matter how big of a rocket scientist you are, your mother would always be smarter than you. Hats off to the director and writer for writing such a simple yet powerful script and a big rould of applause for Sridevi for breathing life into the character of Sashi- it wouldnt be the same without her.

Therefore, love your parents for who they are. English does not make them sophisticated, their love does, which they have in plenty. And we must often see movies like this to remind ourselves the power of simplicity and acknowledging our own language and culture.

Love and Peace


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