It has been more than a decade since English Vinglish was released, yet it stays fresh as ever! The strong screenplay and beautiful characterization are a perfect combination, which makes this film highly re-watchable. Also, another best thing about the film is it is ahead of its time and thus its long-lasting relevance.
This blog is about one such scene that was way ahead of its time (The one where the entire class is discussing Sir David’s break-up who is a homosexual character) and gives the necessary depth to the character of Shashi, solidifying her as a progressive and strong woman, who understands the most important things in the world – Love and Respect.
Shashi is a woman whose life revolves around her family; Her unapologetically ignorant husband, and a teenage daughter who looks down upon her mother just because she can’t speak English, which makes her feel insecure and inferior. Her only allies are her mother-in-law and her young son.
Her life changes when she goes alone to New York to attend her niece’s wedding.
A woman who hasn’t been out of her small world goes to a country whose language she could barely understand is nothing but horror. But that’s where it takes a turn. She spots an ad for English classes. She soon enrolls and becomes everyone’s favorite.
In this scene, they talk about their professor’s recent break-up with his boyfriend. Almost everyone is against the idea of a gay couple and after listening to this Shashi presents a heartfelt argument about how everyone is different in their way but hearts and heartbreaks are similar.
Isn’t it wonderful to see a character like this present her point of view in such a simple way? Everyone’s take on love and heartbreak is different but seldom do you come across such pieces which truly make you understand it more.
The best part about it is that it is presented by a woman who was constantly sidelined, but knows how to keep going with everyone. A woman who never ventured out, but knows how to embrace everyone – their identity, culture, and beliefs. A woman who locked herself into giving unconditional love to her family, only to get disrespected repeatedly just because she doesn’t understand a language?
Well even if she doesn’t, she surely knows the language of love. Isn’t that enough?