English Vinglish

English Vinglish Captures the Story of a Language Learner

English VinglishNo, I have not seen the movie.  No, I do not know the director, actors or writers.  Truthfully, it only caught my eye because of Kay’s article last week.

Yes, I have seen the movie trailer and am therefore completely qualified to both do a review and recommend this move.  It seems that these days, sound bites are enough to formulate opinions. Let’s see if I can get away with this ;-)

While a Bollywood production, this movie and Bollywood in general  seem to be raising their A-game to world standards.  Since “Slumdog Millionaire”, there is an openness to Indian movies and styles.  Personally, I like a dash of Bollywood and even the sing-song desi style of music with “bobble head”  singers.

OK , before I get myself into trouble, let’s move on to the story.  An Indian woman (beautiful, of course) goes to the U.S.  to help her sister’s family?.  I don’t know why, but she decides to learn English. We quickly see both the funny aspects and the frustrations of non-English speakers in America. See this movie if for no other reason, to see that your experiences and frustrations as English learners are universal. Too many times I deal with students who feel so alone and frustrated. I cannot convince you that you are normal,  I can only deliver “head” knowledge. This movie promises “heart” knowledge. A fellow human being going through the same as you. If you can let go and fall into the story, you may get something special. I think they call it catharsis, where you allow another to experience your pain in your stead.

I am sure that we will see plenty of gags. There will be the obligatory missives with idioms and slang. I hope that you too, can laugh at such in your life. The difference in this film, I hope, is that it will reveal the deeper hurts that attend to such mistakes. Few teachers can fully understand the heart issues with learning a new language. They can certainly minister to the broken language. But, to address the heart issues, we need story and a masterful storyteller.

I hope that “English Vinglish” can deliver what we as teachers cannot. I hope that they can capture your story as a learner and complete the language healing we as teachers only begin. The last movie I felt so strongly about was “The King’s Speech” which was about a man with a speech impediment and his speech coach. This move promises to be a much more direct salve for your heart.

Do you know someone struggling with language learning?  Do you  wish to reach out and hug them saying,”I know how you feel”?  Why not let this movie do it for you.  Simply share this article and invite them to meet you online after seeing the movie.

Jai Ho!

Here is the English Vinglish trailer with English subtitles.

Pictures via Kollywoodz


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George Machlan is a columnist and ESL editor at Fair Languages. He is a "self-appointed" English coach at My ESL Friends, does not adhere to any traditional form of instruction and is purposely anti-authoritarian in teaching styles. While not creative he is a master innovator and has brought much of current science in how the brain learns to his own method called “Karaoke English”. You can follow George on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/satyarth.nayak Satyarth Nayak

    Sure. English Vinglish looks extra special and we in India are waiting impatiently for this film. It’s trailer has crossed 1 million views on Youtube and still counting while it’s Title Track released two days back is already rocking the world. And the latest news comes from Toronto Film Festival where it has created a record of sorts. All shows of the film at the festival were SOLD OUT within minutes of Advance Booking. ONLY film at TIFF to create such an impact. And after all it stars Sridevi as protagonist. The First Female Superstar of Bollywood who comes back after 15 years to unleash her magic once again.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gmachlan Louis George Machlan

      Thanks so much @facebook-659792081:disqus, you seem to an insider. Please update us with links or pertinent insights. I am doubtful that US theaters will feature this film. Which means that I will have to wait for release on video to complete my post.

      For the rest of you reading this, Satyarth has a lot of links on his FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/satyarth.nayak

  • joseph

    I can’t wait, sridevi returns after 15 years of retirement, and still looks cute and gorgeous as ever, she is an actress know for her immense expressions range and histrionics we all missed. Hope this movie gets the recognition.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gmachlan Louis George Machlan

      I love histrionics and women going “Drama Queen”. I know nothing of Sridevi. Can you recommend an English movie by her?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ibrahim-Khan/100001449900089 Ibrahim Khan

        Watch Sadma, she was billiant the climax scene will shock you. A well made movie, different from other bollywood movies that came out in the 80s. I’m sure you will fall in love with her acting, innocence, beautiful eyes.

        here you go.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9ozN2y0HBw

        • http://www.facebook.com/gmachlan Louis George Machlan

          Thanks Ibrahim

          • Guest

            And Lamhe ofcourse. Brilliant and much light-hearted than Sadma.

          • http://www.facebook.com/sreep.guggz Sree P Guggz

            And Lamhe (my all time favourite).

  • Deepa Bhatia

    Yes, English Vinglish has something extra special. We all must have gone through this language problem at least once in our life. Many ladies would relate to the character of Shashi played by the Gorgeous Actress of Bollywood – Sridevi. Even the music is brilliant. My gut feeling says this will be another
    Slumdog Millionaire. Jai Ho!

    • http://www.facebook.com/gmachlan Louis George Machlan

      Thanks for your views Deepa. Please consider submitting a review and more info if you see it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sudeshdr Sudesh Nagvekar

    Very interesting read George. English Vinglish will be on general release in US along with UK, Australia and India. It will be shown in cinemas which normally show Indian films. I am sure you will find one close to your place. It will be out on October 5th. I second the recommendation of Sadma. Other films of Sridevi you can watch are Lamhe(strongly recommended) and Chandni. Both are available on Netflix in UK and US.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sudeshdr Sudesh Nagvekar

    One more thing.. as mentioned in your article, Shashi goes to US to help her sister arranging her niece’s wedding.

  • Anil

    Sridevi is the most talented, Most Good looking, Most Versatile Actress of Indian Screen. She was, She is and She will remain the Undisputed Queen of Bollywood. She is the only Actress of Bollywood who has the lethal Combination of Talent and Beauty.