The director of English Vinglish says that she drew inspiration from her mom when she started writing the film. Her mother like Shashi (Sridevi) was an entrepreneur who had her own pickle making business and the director admits that she often laughed at her mother’s English. And after watching the charming film that English Vinglish is; it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the film takes inspiration from every woman in this country. Even I could relate Shashi to my mother very easily. In fact we all will! More than the language; the film talks about the struggle of every woman to be the perfect mother, wife and daughter-in-law. It’s the story of every husband who doesn’t care about his wife’s aspirations. It’s the story of every kid who has ridiculed her mother because she didn’t know the colonial language. It’s the story of an average middle class Indian woman who goes out-of-the-way to please her family without a complaint.
Right from the scene where Shashi keeps away her cup of coffee to serve Marie Biscuits & Tea to her mother-in-law; I could see the dutiful woman in her. There have been so many instances where my mom has left her tea to attend to the whims & fancies of others (Including ME) only to find a nipping cup of tea when she returned. I also remember the first time my mom travelled by a plane. Though it was a domestic flight from Mumbai; she was tensed like anything. The nervousness, the anxiety and the apprehension which Shashi faces on the airport wasn’t something alien to me. Switch to America where Shashi asks her kids on phone if they had their breakfast and took their lunch boxes. Aren’t all our mothers the same? Even today whenever my mom calls me, she is concerned whether I ate my food on time or not. As they say kids will always remain kids for their mothers. And it’s worth pondering that how many times we ask the same question? Cut to the scene where the ladoos prepared by Shashi fall down because of the prank played by her son. The dad takes no time to hold his ears but minutes later we see the mom kissing the son. Even till today, whenever I fidget around in the kitchen, I break something or the other but apart from a nano second of anger I have never seen my mom go berserk. The patience, the calmness, the love knows no bounds! And last but not the least, like Shashi all the mothers are emotional and it doesn’t take much time for tears to start trickling from the eyes. Mothers think from their hearts but ironically, they are emotionally more stronger and mature than most men.
English Vinglish is a film that goes beyond the ordinary story-telling and gives us lots of lessons to learn. Firstly, it gives a peek into the feelings of those who are not good at knowing the foreign language English and are subjected to disdain and jibes by the YO generation kids. Anyone who has ever laughed on their parents or for that matter anyone because of their inability to speak correct English should retrospect. If we can’t help somebody overcome their weakness, then at least not make them feel inferior. Secondly, the husbands/kids can learn to value their wife/mother and may be once in a blue moon say a Thank You for all that they do! Lastly, the film ends with a beautiful message that “You have to help yourself” It’s about achieving what you want. It’s about pursuing what you love. It’s about determination. It’s about courage. It’s about winning!
It would be unfair to end the post without the mention of Sridevi. The film wouldn’t have been what it is without her brilliant performance. She is back and she is still the best. Don’t wait for occasions; go and hug your mom tightly once and say “Mom, I love you. Thank You for being there always!” English Vinglish is a film made with a lot of heart and it will touch all of us. It’s a slice of our lives. It’s a tribute to all the dedicated yet taken-for-granted women!