English Vinglish: When even good Indian women have feelings.

“My wife, she was born to make laddus”

Watched the movie because for once, when an Indian husband is being disrespectful in an Indian movie – he is shown  as being disrespectful.

We see characters like Shashi (Sridevi) in Indian movies and TV serials all the time, but we always see them grateful and delighted to be permitted to serve hot coffee to family members while their own coffee goes cold (It’s just a cup of coffee, isn’t it?)

For once a good Indian woman in a feel good Indian movie, is not shown delighted-to-serve-and-obey, she expects to be treated with respect. Like real women, Shashi questions and resents and feels.

“Mard khana banaye to kala hai, aurat banaye to uska farz hai.” (Translatation: When a man cooks, it’s art; when a woman cooks it’s her duty.”)

I think Gauri Shinde manages to ask some tactful questions without offending the traditional Indian viewer.

A must watch.

43 thoughts on “English Vinglish: When even good Indian women have feelings.

  1. “When a man cooks, it’s art; when a woman cooks it’s her duty.”
    True. A man is much appreciated when he cooks. Especially for me nowadays.
    Similarly is a woman well appreciated if she drives? May be not. Male drivers usually try to scare or taunt.

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    • Women are only appreciated when they serve and obey their husbands/ILs and generally act like their brains are in deep freeze in the refrigerator.

      They’re only appreciated when they act like they’re mindless automatons and not sentient human beings.

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      • No Biwo, you’re wrong. They SHOULD be sentient human beings – they should love their HUSBANDS!! How would they do that if they were automatons? They should love, adore, worship the husband – only live for him, sacrifice for him, give in to his every wish, smile when they want to cry, so that they don’t worry their husband unnecessarily over their “silly” troubles. Because, of course all womens’ troubles are silly. They cry over everything. /:)

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  2. Watched it over the weekend IHM…
    made me teary eyed ..especially it reminded me of my teens when i had misbehaved with my mom …I have asked her forgiveness a thousand times ever since i passed my teens ..but seeing a movie from the mother’s perspective was different and difficult …
    and btw as i was watching some scenes, your blog and some of the discussion over here came to my mind and here you are with a post on it🙂
    Love

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  3. SPOILER ALERT
    Aren’t you offended by the fact that she chooses her husband over the French man in the movie, even though French man offers her ‘LOVE’ which her husband doesn’t offer to her?

    I was also disturbed by the dialogue when she says ‘I don’t need love, just a little respect’

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    • I agree . I didn’t like the way the movie ended either… Didn’t make sense, that’s why I think the movie is tactful , it simply raises some tactful questions, without offending the more traditional viewers.

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    • It’s difficult to choose a lover when a woman (I should say person here, and if my husband reads this he will cry out ‘sexism’) already has a family (read children). And it is easy to take someone for granted when you know they are always there, which tends to happen in long term relationships. So choosing one man over the other may not necessarily solve her problems.

      I agree with you on the dailogue.It does make you pause. It is also probably the character’s own cynicism/worldliness showing through. She is not enamoured by romantic love and respect is more important to her.

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    • My understanding of the dialogue was that she already had love, just not respect from her family… could that be the case?
      There is an interview of Gauri Shinde in the TOI –
      articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-10-07/news-interviews/34294577_1_balki-gauri-shinde-feature-film
      I would have expected the movie to end differently because she was directing it.

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    • SPOILER ALERT – Laurent loved her, but did she love him? Didn’t seem like it to me. I think she remained true to character by not choosing Laurent, it was pretty realistic in that regard.

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      • I kinda agree with M. Her family did love her, they just took her for granted and were insensitive to her. Which is what a lot of homemakers undergo anyway. It’s not like her husband was a total cad. And her family does repent in the end. She wanted respect from her family.
        I agree with amodini… she remained true to her character by not choosing Laurent. She might have been attracted to Laurent but I didn’t see anywhere in the movie where she fell headlong for him to the extent to which she could leave her family/husband and go with him. And no I am not bringing a moralistic angle to it, just deciphering what I saw in the movie.

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    • Sumit, Laurent keeps telling repeatedly about how beautiful Shashi is, and how he fell for her at first sight…which makes me suspect ‘beauty’ as in terms of ‘physical beauty’. Is this enough for Shashi to go to the French man? This also reminds me of another dialogue in the movie where she says to her husband “So you come home only because I cook well?” No rational strong case as to why she should have left her well settled family for Laurent, when she did not seem to reciprocate the feeling…I thought it was more the case of what could have be (with her husband) vs what is reality…

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  4. SPOILER ALERT: It takes a corny(tempered with a lot of lies) speech at the end for the family to realise Shashi’s feelings. But it left me thinking about ‘issues’ that cannot be remedied as easily. As a tangent thought, after I watched this movie with my friend we were discussing about what is worse – having an emotional affair or a physical affair…..

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      • It takes a corny(tempered with a lot of lies) speech at the end for the family to realise Shashi’s feelings.

        Really? I thought that the speech (while I did feel it was a bit dramaticized to suit the situation), did hit all the right notes. The whole point of her saying “your family won’t make you feel less” was the irony of it. That’s what hit her husband and daughter (son is too young to understand) the most, isn’t it? I felt it was her subtle way of putting the hint across.

        Different view points I guess🙂

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        • @Ashwathy I agree🙂 I thought so too… I also like the way that the speech did not flow naturally, that she had to put thought into it… which made it more realistic.

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        • Ashwathy, I can understand what you are saying, the cynical me was thinking she is promising a lie in her speech to the married couple, though it did serve the purpose of making her family understand. But I also wondered, why did it take so long for her to stand up for herself, and could she not have done this in a closed door manner, calling her family for a conversation? And the son was the most sensitive in the family🙂

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        • Manhattan gave her the opportunity and the opening she had always deserved. Her character was such that was she was terrified to even travel to US by herself… it took prodding on the part of the husband to make her go. That’s the way she was conditioned. So she would keep her feelings to herself most of the time.

          The trip gave her opportunities to be by herself, discover what she really wanted, and also gave her courage to speak up. So when she finally got an opportunity to speak, she gave it all she got. Remember at the table where her husband tries to shush her thinking she doesn’t know what to say, and she firmly pulls at her husband’s hand indicating that she HAS to give a toast.

          What I do agree is that she could have rephrased her speech to say: “Family SHOULD never make you feel less, and SHOULD give you love and respect all the time” instead of saying “Family WILL never make you feel less…. ”🙂
          Maybe she wanted to send a positive message across to the new couple, at the same hitting send the hint to her family.

          That’s the way I see it…🙂

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  5. I enjoyed the movie very much. She is very clear that she really appreciated Laurent make her feel good about herself, but that was it. She came across as a naturally affectionate, non-judgemental person vis-a-vis her classmates and teacher. She was way too rooted in her own culture to deviate any further. The sad part is that we are a country of snobs regarding English anyway. It’s great to learn a language and be able to communicate well in it, and I think many of us here are passionate lovers of the English language. That does not give anyone the right to look down upon those whose English is not very good.And that is also a message that comes through.

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  6. I agree! Such a heart warming film. So simple. I’d say one of the best comebacks in Bollywood. Sridevi, back with a bang! Lovely story, emotional and thought provoking.

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  8. For me the best moment was when she swells in pride when her english teacher calls her an Entrepreneur! Unlike her husband who did not admire the skills she had! and how she had forgotten what it is to be complimented upon! All prettiness strewn here and there!

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