Do the people whose first vernacular is English, ever find faults with erroneous English spoken by the people whose mother tongue is not English ? Of course, not so much as of the English-speaking so called elites residing in a country that has gained political freedom for over 65 years, yet has successfully cherished colonial hang-over. Problems are not with the rustic folks, but with the urban society that holds the fallacious phrase " COMMUNICATION SKILL" as the " sceptre" to wage over the society, as well as the" crown" suggesting sophistication. When this conviction remains deep-seated, the detrimental off-shoot is that the English-mouthed school children frown at, jeer at, mock at and laugh at their begetters with frailty in English. Not knowing English may be taken for a minor matter to some section, but it proves a major matter, if not a syndrome, to middle-class, upper-middle class societies, branded as elegant.
" English Vinglish" underscores this dangerous syndrome of colonial inerta, and culminates with a sound triumphant message. The movie starts with preparing " Ladoos" a typical Indian sweet with an ethnic and ritual sagacity. In the film the exposure of " ladoos" is not just in order to show the occupation of Shashi, but to underline her ceaseless effort to maintain a bond of sweet relation, marked as " entrepreneur" in one of the vital scenes. Shashi is through her toil and moil for the sake of the good of all the members of family, and in return, she is prone to humiliation by her husband and daughter with a single hoax she is not at home in English. Her impeccable sacrifices, sincerity and selflessness are microscoped through the macroscope of a foreign language.
Eventually, Shashi finds herself in New York, where she stealthily undertakes a crash-course of speaking English. In the class, she discovers, she is not alone, but there are others too under the sun, struggling with faltering English. The mates make a family of its class, without iota of discrimination of any nature, even though they ought to have been discriminated because they are of diverse nations, communities, social back-grounds and occupations. It proves, we are integrated when we are in the same train bound for the same destination. The most striking episode of the film is , undoubtedly, the class-room sequence, which could have been given greater footage.
The film must be watched with all. Hence, it is a vice to relate the story in detail. But, a maxim ought to be mentioned, a troubled mind can take any challenge and can execute it successfully.
If a blind-man with his ears on stay seated in an auditorium, he, when the film is over, would raise himself up with one word " Sridevi". If a deaf and dumb watches it, he would gesture for " Sridevi". For a prolonged span of fifteen years this super-star of the yesteryear must have done some " crash-course" to keep herself befitting with the time. To do so, one will never discover any institute, because it is within one's mind, soul and thinking. The delicate emotions, complex sentiments, mental turmoils, expressions of affections, pity, piety and passions are, in fine, superb. She is very much within the portrayal. One may doubt, has this lady, in her practical life, been through such ordeal ? Else, how could she do it unless she had first-hand experience? Other than Amitabh Bachchan in his brief but arresting appearance, Sridevi is only one familiar face, very much integrated with faint-familiar faces, mainly because, here, " Sridevi" too is not as familiar with " the Sridevi" we were familiar with.
Gouri Shindhe, in her debutant " entrepreneur" has proved her glorious advent. Very tactfully, she has steered clear of a budding romance, that could bloom if the protagonist had not commented " Now what I want is not pyaar but a considerable amount of respect". Kudos to Gouri Shindhe who has flashed a light upon the established " the mental ability to understand and discriminate between relations" i.e JUDGEMENTAL caused by " Vinglish" culture.