‘English Vinglish’ is a fresh take on communication and relationships, say its makers

Dressed in ethnic handloom weaves, Sridevi is understated and looks the part of a homemaker. She is attempting to find her identity in the US, struggling with her English skills or the lack of it. Billed as Sridevi’s comeback film, English Vinglish has caught viewer attention right from the refreshing teaser promo to the song sequence. This October, English Vinglish will hit theatres in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil. “The Telugu version is not a dubbed film. The portions where I had to speak Telugu lines were shot again,” says Sridevi.

In Hyderabad on a short visit to launch the promo of the Telugu version, Sridevi was at ease talking in Telugu. She, along with director Gauri Shinde and producer R. Balki, tried to make up for arriving 90 minutes late for a press conference by patiently fielding a string of queries. Says Sridevi: “Balki and my husband Boney Kapoor are very good friends. Balki happened to narrate this story to Boney and he was impressed. We learnt that Balki’s wife Gauri had written the story and called her over for a narration. I had no second thoughts on doing this film.”

Though it’s been 15 years since she left the silver screen, Sridevi says she never felt she’s been away. “It was as if I had taken a Sunday off and come back to work. Perhaps because we’ve always been connected to cinema through our home productions, it didn’t feel like a long break.”

Amitabh Bachchan features in a cameo in the Hindi version and Ajith enacts the same role in Telugu and Tamil. Saying that the idea came from her mother who struggled with English, writer and director Gauri Shinde says: “We tend to look down upon those not fluent in English. I took that idea and developed a fictional story.” Balki adds: “English, Hindi, Tamil or Telugu are mere languages and we tend to believe that those conversant in English are superior to others. Those at the receiving end of the jokes laugh along, even though they are hurt. This is a story about insecurities, relationships and communication.”

English Vinglish also stars Adil Hussain and Priya Anand and is scheduled to release on October 5.