Sridevi Masters English Vinglish
Bollywood actress Sridevi. (WENN.COM)
Like cheese and wine, some things just get better with time. At age 49, Indian actress Sridevi (a one-name wonder like Madonna) is returning to the big screen after a 15-year hiatus. She’ll be staring as a Pune-based housewife bent on learning English in Gauri Shinde’s directorial debut English Vinglish.
According to the Hindustan Times, this whimsical drama, which opens Oct. 5, has already scored rave critical reviews. While the film certainly falls into the groove of Bollywood escapism, complete with boisterous musical numbers, it’s also a study of family life and a commentary on what it means to be happy and content.
Sridevi shines as Shasti, an aging housewife whose homemaking skills are taken for granted by her husband and children. Instead, she’s routinely teased for her inability to learn English. Determined to overcome her insecurity and emerge as a self-assured and confident woman, Shasti undertakes a transformative journey that proves to be lighthearted and touching.
A talented supporting cast, including Mehdi Nebbou, Adil Hussain, Priya Anand, Sulabha Deshpande, Adil Hussain, and Sujatha Kumar, complements Sridevi’s performance. With a script that balances comedy, drama, and emotion, the film takes an unconventional route for Bollywood. It’s entertainment that enlightens and informs. Before its official release, English Vinglish premiered at the gala opening of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 14, where advanced bookings were sold out. The screening reportedly received a lengthy standing ovation from audience members. Sridevi’s last major appearance was in the 1997 film Judaai (Separation) opposite Anil Kapoor. She is often referred to as the first female superstar of Indian cinema and the Times of India has referred to her as India’s Meryl Streep.
There’s no doubt audiences will be drawn to the woman who has immortalized so many memorable characters from Indian film. But with its beautifully relatable themes, sensible characters and solid story, viewers will only remember the sensitive housewife who set out to conquer her own insecurities and apprehensions — and succeeded.