The one of the cool things about India is that quite often things do not go as planned, which can also lead to surprises and kill “monotony” of life. My buddy (Let us call him Venky, as I know multiple Venky’s) here who also has returned to India “for good” often says, “Life is so predictable in US, and everything works like a clock work. That is the reason I used to feel monotonous in US”.
Again tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity should be little higher; else one would be fuming their entire life in India. I see so many folks curse, when things do not go as planned. I do not blame them. Infinitheim founder quotes, “So many problems would solve in the world, if we start thinking “people are different” and stop thinking “people are difficult”
My pleasant surprise was to get an opportunity to watch “The Return of Sridevi” (also quoted as Sridevi 2.0) via the new flick, English Vinglish on the first day and first show @ a neighborhood cinema. This was completely an unplanned event
I had taken off from work yesterday, as I was away from home for a month, and also wanted to get my home ready for visitors that I am hosting for the weekend, and also get my car fixed. Since the sequence of events went wrong, and resulted in a 3-hour window before I can get to next item in my list. As I am a “forced bachelor” (term often used in India) for last few days with Radhika out on a meditation camp on the top of Arunachala hills, I had nothing to do going home and kids at School
Being a movie freak, I thought 3 hours gap would perfectly fit for a movie. I have used “BMS” (Book My Show) app while Mohan is driving my car, to check what are the choices out there. List of movies that were in my list (if I ever get time to watch) was Barfi, OMG, English Vinglish. It was 11:15AM, and I was 5 minutes away from Tivoli, and movie of the choice was English Vinglish. I had packed Hot Samosa and Kachori from Sudha Sweets (best place for both of these snacks) near Paradise area, to avoid eating suspicious food in the movie canteen
I rarely watch a movie alone, and I know that Mohan (my loyal Chauffer) does not get to watch many movies. I have asked if he wants to watch Sridevi movie. I do not need to tell his answer. I was in queue for 5 minutes (dozens teenagers before me, and dozen teens ahead of me) and few odd aged folks like me in between. Everyone is whispering in different pitches, “Do you think there are enough tickets.”
Do you remember the anxiety standing in the movie line for a ticket ? You do not get that feeling anymore, buying a ticket online. I got two tickets for me and Mohan. I felt as happy as Saina Nehwal would have felt after winning an Olympic medal, or a die-hard Indian cricket fan would have when India won world cup in 1983 (did I get the year, correct)?
It’s been a decade since I watched a movie on a first day morning hour. Theater was beaming with hundreds of teen girls and boys, with teen girls dressed really hip and were in gangs of girls, gangs of boys, and mixed too. I did feel that it indeed is a fun time to be a teenager looking at the hip crowd. This was not even a multiplex screen. I am sure, scene at a multiplex would appear like fashion parade
Getting to the main subject, what do I think about the movie?
Those who have watched movie teaser already know the premise of the movie. I thought many women in India would identify and emphasize with the lead character (Sridevi as “Shashi”) and will be an emotional roller coaster ride for them. Some men may feel little ashamed of how they treat their spouse (consciously or unconsciously, there is no excuse for that) and how kids taking their mom granted of what she does for them
Each of the little success that Shashi experiences while she strives to learn English in 4 weeks in Manhattan, will be welcomed with claps and cheers. Entire ensemble of star cast is well selected and aptly fit their role/character. I loved the kid who played as Shashi’s son, husband, niece, mother-in-law, French classmate. Then the list goes on. I loved so many other characters too. It’s hard to single out anyone. But the DNA of the movie is Sridevi. Background score is excellent that goes well with great visuals.
Though Sridevi appears aged (appropriately) in few scenes, you may not notice that she was missing in action for 15 years. There were cheers and claps (both within the story and in the theater) when Shashi delivers 10 minutes of monologue in English. I loved the way she delivers a fantastic message about definition of “family”
She appeared so natural, that one would think that she is really struggling to speak in English. You will only realize that she is a great actress, when she casually orders in a perfect tone in English for a Mocha, Sandwich, and bottle of water at a roadside cafe in Manhattan. Do not miss to notice this scene.
“SPOILER ALERT” – If you are one of those folks (like me) who hate knowing too much about a movie, stop reading now. I might write more than what you want to know.
Amitabh does a surprise cameo role. He steals the show for entire 5 minutes of his presence. There were loud cheers when Immigration officer asks him “What is the purpose of your visit”, and Amitji answers, “I came to do some shopping and spend money in your country to uplift your economy. If you don’t want me here, I can return back immediately”. Immigration officer hurriedly stamps the visa 🙂
— Got to run for next errand in my list –
— More spoilers and updates, if I get some more time –