All these truths have been perfectly interwoven with the script not sidetracking the main storyline. And of course, Sridevi is one big aspect why you are glued to your seats, she has sheer magic and charm in her performance! On a lighter note, what an idiot would he be if he ignores a wife as beautiful as Sridevi ;). Kudos to the new captain(Gowri Shinde) on the block for the exquisite work she has done!!!
Wishing all the readers a very Happy Dussera!!! I hail from the Durga Ma's famous temple town, so Dussera has always been a special festival for us. Visiting the temple at least once during the Navrathri days was mandatory and quite a feat because there was huge crowd always and it continues to be so even now. Dussera is symbolically celebrated for triumphant victory of good over evil and considered as the best time to start something!
In India, entertainment has been limited to cinema & TV to many. Going out for a picnic, doing an adventurous hike, hanging out with friends is pretty much pertained to youngsters and college goers. Except for few communities from the metropolitans, the scenario hasn't changed. Art exhibitions, magic shows, literature, dance and music festivals etc don’t appeal to most of us. Hence cinema has occupied prominent position in entertainment arena.
The influence of cinema has also been quite strong since decades. Our rituals and festivals also include cinema these days, be it the dialogues, the histrionics, or the music. When cinema has so much to do in our lives, don’t you think there should some responsibility and sensibility in the movie makers. But how many of them have that in mind while crafting their story line??? Imagine a cinema that would conquer all your senses, connects with you emotionally, and still entertains you...have you seen one lately??? I did!
I have been a great fan of director Balki's craft. I loved the cinematography brilliance in his films, and the subtle portraying of the characters. Nothing is overdone, no dramatic scenes yet connects with you so emotionally. Music was also soothing and relates so much with the storyline. After all, it was the maestro's magic! When his wife Gowri Shinde came up with her film, I wasn't surprised but expected that she would have taken up some lessons from her husband, in other words, her cinema would be Balki influenced!!! However, my assumptions were proved to be incorrect after watching the film ‘English Vinglish’. Very few debut directors have the finesse in storytelling; at least most of them tumble at screen playing their characters even though they are very good script writers. I think she has done exceptionally well, that you never miss the continuity in the story. As I mentioned, Balki’s films have excelled in cinematography aspects, the same applies to Gowri’s as well. NYC has been the most picturesque location for filming, but the excellence lies in capturing the soul of the city and was rightly done.
Coming to the storytelling aspect, her choice of lead protagonist is one of the keys to her success. I wouldn't say nobody else could pull off that role like the eternal actress Sridevi, but this being her comeback film is one of the best advantages why the director could succeed. The same strategy, I think worked for a film like Cheenikum too. If not Amitabh, somebody else could also do the role, but films like that need a combination of a crowd puller and an exceptional actor. Here Gowri Shinde had loyally followed her husband’s footsteps.
Coming to the responsible and sensible factor that I mentioned…the film had certainly justified that aspect too by giving 3 very best solutions for the biggest of today’s problems in families.
Problem 1 - The insecurities and the behaviour problems which draw a divide between the teens & parents. Shashi’s (Sridevi) teen daughter’s adamant behaviour hurting her sensitiveness is very well conceived in all the scenes. Neither the mother turns out too dramatic unlike many nor does the eldest in the family (grani) emote furiously. Instead the grani shrugs off saying its very common problem with teens.
Solution – As subtle as the problem was portrayed, so was the solution coming as an answer that was put in a wisest way possible. It was Shashi expressing her feelings in English, which she learnt with determination after being humiliated by her own husband and teen daughter. The solution not being shown as a retort but a simple wise way of making people realize what was their mistake.
Problem 2 – Imbalance in marital relation often misunderstood as infidelity leading to divorce and break ups. Shashi’s husband was shown often occupied with his own world, masking his love with male ego, ignoring her for different reasons, bullying her weakness and taking pride in doing so, not considering her feelings as important as his etc., Time and again this is misunderstood as infidelity and leads to break ups.
Solution – Clearing the confusion airs about this kinda attitude from the spouse, especially when the two have travelled quite a long time together. It is important to bring back the balance. The answer came from the loyal and wise housewife Shashi explaining how a marriage should survive in difficult times. Again, no drama in this process but puts across her lines with austerity ‘that at least one of the two should stand up and take charge of the situation to bring back the harmony instead of vying more and more because that phase is temporary and could be resolved’. Marriages which fall apart for silly reasons have big lesson to learn from the speech that Shashi delivers to her niece. Most of the times, it is confusion that leads to break ups.
Problem 3 – Another common phase in a man or woman’s life which is not generally spoken out in our society considering it as a taboo. Post marriage, for a man or woman, at a certain point of time there would be an attraction from the outside world. There is nothing to disagree. When Shashi was proposed by her co learner in the class, she takes it in a very positive way although shocked for a second. She answers him that she is happy that somebody makes her feel good about herself.
Solution – Being liked by somebody is no way a grave sin; let it be even after marriage. But, knowing where to draw a line is where your dignity lies. As Shashi says that she feels happy that somebody appreciates her beauty and cooking skill while her own family ignores. Well aware with Shashi’s family issues, when her niece overhears the proposal, she encourages that it is okay to go otherwise…Shashi again strikes back with a crystal clear answer that she is need of respect and not love. Hence she rejects the proposal with poise, grace and clarity. It is very easy to fall for an outsider when your own relation is in a turbulent phase. But having the clarity between the myths and reality at that stage is very much important. The fact that her family ignores her is real, but doesn't love her is a myth! She is very much aware of that which many of them are not in real lives.