Karisma Kapoor made a perilous comeback with Dangerous Ishqq and Rani Mukherjee jiggled her way to glory in Aiyaa, but the Best Comeback award has been stolen by one Maharashtrian housewife with a bit of a blind spot for the Queen’s language!
2012 has been party to some small budget wonders and some big ticket disasters. And while most award shows won’t deign to look beyond Agneepath and Jab Tak Hai Jaan, we decided to reintroduce you to some of this year’s smaller wonders that ended up making a pretty big bang at the box office. The third spot on our list of top 5 Bollywood flicks of 2012 goes out to:
English Vinglish (October, 2012)
Net Collections: 75 crore
The Story: Running around after a family of five is no mean task, especially if the family in question happens to include one pain in the neck husband and one stuck up teenage daughter, but Shashi Godbole is an adept housewife, whose superpowers include running her own laddoo business and pulling off some enviable Michael Jackson moves in her free time. Yet, it is with some scorn that her husband sends her to America to help out with her niece’s wedding. He joins her a couple of weeks later, certain that she mustn’t have been able to survive without his oh-so-superior English skills to aid her. Only to find that she’s no longer the meek housewife he dropped off at the airport; in the course of a few short weeks, she has sprouted a friend circle of her own, found an ardent admirer in a French chef and upgraded her English skills from non-existent to legendary!
The Aww-some Factor: Shashi’s innocuous relationship with her French admirer, Laurent. He can’t speak a word of Hindi and the closest he can get to pronouncing her name is ‘Sha-shee.’ She sure as hell can’t speak French, in fact, she has zero idea that Italian and French are poles apart. Yet they forge an easygoing friendship that has you bringing out the pompoms and egging them on until the very end!
The Dialogue You Won’t Forget: The movie contains a wealth of beautiful exchanges, both in Hindi and French, but the mystery of, “Why United States is called The United States and why India is called India, not The India?” remains unsolved till the end; in fact, we have designated it to one of those many enigmatic mysteries of the universe!
Hit ‘Rewind’ On: The climax scene where Sridevi stands up and unselfconsciously toasts the couple in fluent English. The scene lingers in your mind long after you leave the darkened theatre, not so much because of Sridevi’s impeccable acting but because it’s incredible fun watching her pain in the neck husband land with egg on his face!
Why it’s Worth Those 2 Hours: When an actor of Sridevi’s calibre steps out of marital bliss and breaks her 15 year hiatus, you can be sure that she has a winner in tow. Perhaps one of the biggest triumphs of the film is that in spite of being made on a budget of 15 crores, it went on to gross a whopping 75 crores, not an everyday occurrence for a heroine oriented film.
What works for English Vinglish is that it avoids clichés with a bargepole; any other movie would have seen the protagonist break into impeccable English after a mere 4 weeks’ course, but Sridevi still falters and hesitates; what she has gained is her self-respect. And we could go on in this same vein but one critic said it all for us; “Sridevi makes the contemporary actresses, even the coolest ones, look like jokes. If you watch only two films every year make sure you see "English Vinglish" twice!"