You are here

English Vinglish – movie review

Sridevi's impressive comeback in Bollywood


English Vinglish, a Bollywood film which marks Sridevi’s return to the silver screen, is directed by debutant director Gauri Shinde and produced by R. Balki.

Money, Fame and the ability to talk and write English. InIndia, these 3 factors play a huge role in how society judges an individual.

English Vinglish is the story of Shashi Godbole (Sridevi), a woman who doesn’t know English and is made to feel insecure about this by her family and society at large. The film though light-hearted is about the touching and transformational journey of Shashi.

Shashi is a loving wife, caring mother and a nice daughter-in-law. She has brought up her daughter and son and now that they are school going, she manages to find time to make ladoos for private events and marriages. Though it doesn’t seem like it was needed to run the family, she manages to make a bit of extra money, which she saves – maybe just for herself.

Her sister, the only sibling is in the USA and for her daughter’s marriage, she invites Shashi and her family for the wedding. Shashi leaves to the US five weeks ahead and then would be joined by her husband and kids a week before the wedding.

Once, while waiting for her niece, she felt the need to take a bite and goes to a fast food joint where this already insecure poor woman is humiliated by the lady at the restaurant and this hurts her the most.

Circumstances make her determined to overcome this insecurity, master the language, teach the world a lesson on the way to becoming a self assured and confident woman.

Shashi joins English speaking classes in the USA, pays 400 USA for a 4 week English speaking course, manages to sneak out a couple of hours and finds good company at the institute. She has interesting classmates – a taxi driver from Pakistan, a romantic French cook (Mehdi Nabbou) who falls for her charms, a South Indian guy, a Mexican nanny, an African who seldom speaks, a Chinese woman and then a gay English teacher, who are outstanding in their respective parts.

It is her sister’s younger daughter, when she comes to know of Shashi’s secret, she lends a supportive hand and then Shashi manages to attend the classes. And then comes the climax  where her course examination is on the same day as that of her elder niece’s wedding.

The film is shot mostly in New York and captures the inherent struggle of many people all over the world with the English Language.

It has its hilarious moments and sensitive scenes. Those moments when her daughter doesn’t want her mother to accompany her for the PTA meeting. There are other scenes where even her husband takes her for granted “ … she is born to make ladoos” and then immediately checking himself after realizing the presence of other people around.

Gone is the glamorous Hawa Hawai image, and it is just plain Indian woman and her simplicity which is very impressive.

There are a few unrealistic scenes that of a daughter who feels embarrassed to take her mom for PTA meetings, even sniggers at her mothers English, and then that of a smart entrepreneur hindi speaking lady just turning dumb while travelling on a flight to the US. Towards the end it is even so slow in pace, but overall it is a feel good film.


Sridevi – Shashi Godbole
Adil Hussain – Shashi’s husband
Navika Kotia – Shashi’s Daughter
Shivansh Kotia – Shashi’s Son
Priya Anand – Shashi’s Niece
Sulbha Deshpande – Shashi’s Mother in Law
Sujata Kumar – Shashi’s Sister
Mehdi Nebbou – French cook
Amitabh Bachchan – Shashi’s co-passenger on the flight

Banner – Eros International, Hope Productions
Produced By Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, RK Damani, Sunil Lulla, R Balki
Directed By Gauri Shinde
Written By Gauri Shinde
Music by Amit Trivedi
Cinematographer – Laxman Utekar
Sound – Resul Pukutty
Editor – Hemanti Sarkar
Lyricist – Swanand Kirkire
Production Designer – Mustafa Stationwala

English Vinglish – movie review