Monday, 17 September 2012


The news has spread like wild-fire. Times of India, Indian Express, The Hindu, Hindustan's everywhere. Sridevi and English Vinglish got a 10 minute long STANDING OVATION at the end of the Gala World Premiere of English Vinglish at the Toronto Film Festival this weekend.

It was not only at the prestigious Roy Thomson Hall where the full-house 2000 strong audience erupted into such overwhelming euphoria for Gauri's film and superstar Sridevi's performance. Minutes after the premiere, the applause flooded Twitter and one saw the kind of impact English Vinglish had made on such a large global audience. Sample these:

BollyStar @BollyStar_Game
An absolutely brilliant movie! Welcome back #sridevi ji! you were stunning as always! 

Dilani Rabindran @dilani_r
Kya film vilm!!! A fitting story & movie for the comeback of our queen Sridevi! 

Ritu Joshi @RituJoshii
I dont think there will ever be another film as great as @EnglishVinglish!

Kamal Khera @k_k89
What a comeback @SrideviBKapoor It was an honor watching you on screen once again!  

Kamal Khera @k_k89
What an outstanding piece of art created by @gauris .. Watching #EnglishVinglish was a privilege

Chanjayaa Kovinthan @chanjayaa
#EnglishVinglish is a beautiful marriage of Eastern and Western film making traditions. Full of emotion and lively characters. 2 thumbs up

Sushmitha Rao @sushmitha
Congratulations @SrideviBKapoor you just reminded us why we've missed you so much on screen :) #EnglishVinglish

Dolce Namak @Dolce_and_Namak
#EnglishVinglish was a smile out loud kind of movie. Perfect for when you need a boost of happy. :) Loved it!

These and many more such tweets not only heralded the grand comeback of Sridevi but also announced the birth of a new director Gauri Shinde to reckon with. The English Vinglish team on its Facebook page recount the moment for us in these beautiful words:

''The applause continued unabated for 7, 8, 10, could have been 100 minutes even, till a stunned Sridevi and team acknowledged the honour by bowing back to them. It took a 360 degree turn to return the love to everyone after which it was nonstop waving to an excited crowd trying to make eye contact with the team. It took nearly an hour to leave the theatre because the fans weren't quite done yet. A horde waited patiently outside, ready to shower Team EV with more love and appreciation. According to Cameron Bailey, the artistic director of TIFF, this was an unprecedented response, the likes of which are rarely seen at TIFF.'' 

A 'stunned Sridevi'!!! Even Gauri's tweet post this historic success at Toronto reads, ''Overwhelmed, touched and a bit stunned.'' While the team may be stunned, for movie-buffs like us it was a forgone conclusion. The moment news trickled in two months back in July that English Vinglish had been selected for a World Premiere at the coveted Galas Section of Toronto Festival, we knew that Sridevi's comeback vehicle was a superlative product. That we in India were not the only ones thinking so was proved when the film created a record at the festival by becoming the only movie at TIFF2012, whose both shows got SOLD OUT within 15 minutes of Advance Booking. Reports from Toronto told us that it was the 'only film this year to create such an impact'. The standing ovation to the film at the premiere now proved that the film did not disappoint those thousands of fans who bought the ticket.

So why did the film generate such mass hysteria and has ended up becoming such a phenomenon at Toronto? The first reason is undoubtedly Sridevi and the official page of English Vinglish at the Toronto Website described her in these words:

''English Vinglish marks the return to the big screen — after a fifteen-year hiatus — of beloved Indian mega-star Sridevi, whose orb-like eyes, expressive face and magnetic charisma have lost none of their radiant lustre.'' 

The fact that India's first and biggest female superstar was coming back on the big screen after 15 years was celebration enough for the diva's million fans all over the world. Sridevi was always a global star even when she undisputed Queen Bee of Bollywood. Her classics like 'Chandni', 'Lamhe' and 'Khuda Gawah' are some of the biggest overseas blockbusters. Her mega-show with Big B in UK titled 'Jumma Chumma in London' remains one of the most successful international shows. Even Spielberg could not resist her charm and had offered her a role in 'Jurassic Park' though it never materialised. The epic craze for the diva on the English Vinglish premiere night at Toronto afirmed that despite a gap of 15 years, her international star-power and aura remained intact and had probably increased ten times more. Sridevi had received a resounding welcome at the IIFA Awards in Toronto last year where her comeback had been officially announced. It came full circle on the premiere night when fans thronged the hall screaming her name and clamouring for her autographs. Those who had seen her films had come to relish more of that magic. Those who had never seen her had come to see what was the fuss all about. Two hours and nine minutes later they were all standing together and clapping for the goddess who had just made them laugh and cry. Even Dalton McGuinty, Premier Minister of Ontario, organised a special high tea in honour of Sridevi. They are all her fans but this fan's tweet was extra special:

Dilani Rabindran @dilani_r
Today I gave my mom's life meaning - I got her in the vicinity of our idol Sridevi & no restraining order was filed!

Besides Sridevi, it was the film itself that drew in the applause. It was Gauri's vision and Balki's mind that together created a piece of art that superseded some of the best of World Cinema at Toronto. At the opening press conference of Toronto Film Festival, Co-Director Cameron Bailey described it as 'an international film with empowering messages.' That was perhaps the biggest reason why the film touched everyone who came near it. While the obvious message is the need to transcend language barriers and communicate with one another, the larger thought of the film seems to make us all inclusive of one another. The need to break walls and fences that divide the world and hold each others strengths and weaknesses. And the inspiration to overcome our complexes. Leave the margins and demand our rightful spot under the sun. It is these universal messages of love and brotherhood that obviously tugged at the hearts of its audience and the result was exactly what the film wanted. In the end the 2000 odd souls in the hall were all standing together and clapping. They had all become ONE. One joyous group smiling at each other. One empowered and evolved group touched by English Vinglish. Objective achieved!!!

The film's trailer also payed it's part in making it a winner. The one million who saw in on YouTube knew it was not the typical Bollywood fare but an international product with real characters that raised real questions and battled real issues. The presence of French superstar Mehdi Nebbou and Amit Trivedi's fabulous world music were other dishes that made it the perfect menu.

While the world media is giving it rave reviews everywhere, our Indian media is also busy celebrating the film's glory at Toronto as they headline this achievement all over the Net and publications. International media is now hailing our superstar Sridevi as ''India's Meryl Streep.'' Sri has always been a diehard Meryl fan and I wonder how she must be feeling now. Am sure Meryl will absolutely love that...! Now if only we could see a film with both these powerhouse performers together.  

Thank you Gauri and Balki for doing Indian cinema proud. And thank you Sridevi. For coming back into our lives. Now we are truly HAPPY-VAPPY!!!


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