Saturday, 5 October 2013

Grinning year to year

Has it been a year already? Since its official screening at the Toronto International Film Festival (on 4 Sept, 2012) to the lavish premiere of the film in Mumbai (on October 4, 2012) where a cavalcade of Indian stars attended to support Sridevi's glorious comeback, English Vinglish marked not only the return of the queen to the marquee, but shone the spotlight on the incredible (and we don't use the term lightly) writer/director, Gauri Shinde. 

As triumphant as Sridevi's comeback was (as expected by the chorus of her global fans), it really was aided by the faultless work and efforts of young Ms Shinde. A hallmark moment heralding the arrival of an incredibly talented director, Gauri Shinde joins a haloed list of few successful female filmmakers in a notoriously sexist, ageist, nepotistic industry that is the juggernaut known as Bollywood. 

While many lavished praise on Sridevi, the truly perspicacious took note of the captain of the ship, the SS Shinde! With its fine balance of humour, pathos, drama, without ever going overboard or over-bored, the film was a soothing balm to the cine-goer assaulted by the over-the-top machinations of Hindi cinema. And it took someone who wasn't overwhelmed by the legend of Sridevi, a distinct non-fan who would buckle under the awesome cinematic history of the diva, to make a film that was just... right. Perfect in fact. Even after repeat viewing (and good-lord have we seen this movie several times over!), we're still hunting for its tragic flaw. There isn't one. 
Sridevi and Gauri Shinde

Had it been a lesser director, a shakier script, the movie could have disappeared like a fungal reel of film, as most comebacks have sunk with a pained whimper into the abyss (Mumtaz, Karishma Kapoor, MD...). Sridevi's wisest opt - and that too in selecting a first-time Bollywood writer/director - in picking the right project at the right time, was truly worth the wait (and an impatient 14 year wait it has been for us cine-goers). All the stars aligned to make this dream of every Sridevi fan - a billion of us and counting - come true.

"Borrowing" from the English Vinglish official Facebook page, here are snaps from the opening night of the film in India, as the who's who of the Hindi film industry turned up to wish Sridevi and hope productions (Gauri Shinde & R Balki) well. 

On a side-note, it was also the last film premiere attended by the legend Yash Chopra. Sridevi's famed producer/director and benevolent father-figure, who mastered two of Sri's finest films, Chandni and Lamhe. Not only did Chopra speak highly of his favourite muse, but mentioned how much he loved the film over-all. No greater praise for a first-time maker by a stalwart of Indian cinema. 

We had such pleasure reliving these moments. 'hope' you do too.

Here's Sridevi with her famous fans: 

Sridevi with Yash Chopra

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