Gauri ShindeIndia129 minutes2012ColourHindi
Miscommunication has always been an in-exhaustible engine for comedy, but in the case of writer-director Gauri Shinde’s delightful and heartwarming English Vinglish, miscommunication is its very subject. A nurturing mother, a devoted wife and a great cook, Shashi (Sridevi) lives a life of middle-class domestic contentment in Pune, India. Her only worry is her poor mastery of the English language, for which her children and husband tease her playfully. But when she has to travel to the United States to help her niece prepare for her upcoming wedding, that minor annoyance becomes a genuine frustration, as Shashi keeps running up against the limits of her language skills. While her niece attends classes, Shashi explores Manhattan and finds that tasks as ostensibly straightforward as ordering water prove complicated when you can’t comprehend the difference between "still" and "sparkling."
Breezy and charming, but with much to say about the delicate balance between tradition and modernity, English Vinglish marked the return to the big screen — after a fifteen-year hiatus — of beloved Indian mega-star Sridevi, whose orb-like eyes, expressive face and magnetic charisma convey a radiant lustre that she brought to her onscreen performances, and for which she will always be remembered.