Over the decades our Indian film industry has been blessed with proficient actors who has essayed characters with such flair & finesse that at times we gasp with disbelief as to whether it's fact or fiction. I have been watching Bollywood movies since the past two decades, during which time there has been a host of good performers but very few of the caliber of Sridevi. After having started acting at the tender age of four, she has been rightful termed as "The First Female Superstar of Indian Cinema", before she retired into domestic life 15 years back following the blockbuster "Judaai". However, ever since her comeback venture "English Vinglish" has been announced, the hype & expectations has been going through the roof . The promos surely looked promising but was such a long wait justified???
Shashi (Sridevi), is a typical middle class Indian wife whose life revolves around the welfare & happiness of her family. She goes about her household work selflessly & even runs a small but successful catering business of ladoos. But her inability to converse in English always stung her as she was the object of numerous callous jibes by her husband & daughter. Things take a turn when she travels to New York to help out with her niece's wedding. After being humiliated at a cafe, she enrolls into a four week English speaking course without informing her kin. So will she able to keep it a secret & conquer English which has constantly hurted her self respect???
Gaurav Shinde is a noted ad film director & though a debutant film maker she already had her brush with the industry courtesy of her husband, R. Balki assisting him in "Cheeni Kum" & "Paa". Call it coincidence or her husband's effect but "English Vinglish" also oozes the same sense of freshness & appeal as "Cheeni Kum". Her screenplay is simple & has clarity which makes us instantly relate with the psyche of the protagonist. There is no denying the fact that certain sequences has been inspired from the popular British comedy series "Mind Your Language", but that doesn't belittle the film at all. On the whole, there is hardly any blemishes & by the time it culminates in a predictable yet moving climax you cant help having a smile on your face. Amit Trivedi deserves praise for his lively numbers especially the title track rendered by Shilpa Rao.
What do I say about Sridevi??? I am virtually speechless as she is as brilliant as she always was. I wont be surprised if audience asks whether she was actually away for more than a decade coz she is at ease as ever. Priya Anand who essays the role of Radha is quite a familiar name in the South & before long will be seen in more Hindi films courtesy of her impressive act. Mehdi Nebbou as Laurent is a French actor who gives an equally impressive performance through his expressions which speaks volumes about what he wants to convey though he converses in his native dialect. All the rest have done their parts well starting from Adil Hussain to her colleagues in the English class. Even Big B delivers a beaming performance with his comic timing in his brief role.
Verdict: The film has already created a buzz considering it's Sridevi's comeback, so it should definitely have an encouraging opening. Thanks to brilliant performances & a simple yet endearing storyline, it should go on to be a superhit. In short, dont miss it!!!