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Movie Review: English Vinglish – 4/5

Director: Gauri Shinde
Writer: Gauri Shinde
Producer: R. Balki
Cast: Sridevi, Adil Hussain and Mehdi Nebbou
Reviewer Rating: 4/5

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With her unexpected, or rather more than expected, powerful performance by Sridevi, it leaves the viewers in awe of her acting. With her role in this movie, Sridevi has resurrected her career in Bollywood.

The plot of the movie is simple but compelling. Many among us might have been ridiculed or worse called names by people for simply not being able to speak English. And that is what happens when Shashi (Sridevi), a very dedicated housewife and also an entrepreneur, has to suffer through humiliation simply for not being able to speak in English. She is looked down upon by her husband and her teenage daughter, who in one instance refuses to take Shashi for a parents-teachers meeting. She is good at whatever she does, especially her art of laddoo making, which is admired by all.

The movie takes a turn when Shashi has to go to New York for her niece’s wedding. She is very apprehensive about her very first visit abroad. But eventually she musters up the courage, mugs up a few sentences in English and lands in “the” USA. There, she feels uncomfortable, scared, disappointed and at one point even cries as she is insulted by an American waitress, for her inability to place an order in English properly. Here she feels dejected and realizes that she needs to learn English; not for anybody else but for herself. With all her savings she joins a short-term English class. And it is here she finds a group of friends. There is a Chinese girl who is hair stylist, a Tamilian software engineer, a Pakistani cab-driver, an introvert African, Eva who is a babysitter and a French chef; all like her, struggle with the English language. This group of English-learners provides her so much encouragement that she gets back her self-respect.

You must watch this movie for two reasons (a) it has an inspiring story, and (b) there is so much that you get to learn without being lectured on. The movie is a light-hearted one with a perfect balance of sentiments, drama, music (especially the title song sung by Shilpa Rao) and lots of picturesque scenes of New York city.

All and all, it is a great movie with a fabulous performance by Sridevi, Adil Hussain and Mehdi Nebbou that you can watch with your family.

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About Prajakta Shukla

Prajakta Shukla is a postgraduate student in the Department of Political Science. She can be reached via email at: prachi.jnu [at]

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