Rarely comes a movie these days that has a simple midde aged house wife in a prominent role, forget being protagonist, but admaker Gauri Shinde must be lauded for even thinking such character in a leading role. Even than that Sridevi, considering her iconic status, must be congratulated for considering this role for her comeback. Normally when heroines comeback they choose a superwoman or smartie so that their talent can be justified. Madhuri Dixit and Karisma tried this route and ended up falling flat. But Sridevi chooses the role of an unassuming housewife that was related by every segment of the viewers and had made a successful comeback of the year. I personally feel that if Sridevi hadn't done this role, it could have been played by Vidya Balan after a few years to this much conviction.
The reason why I loved this movie is because I also used to ask the same question what Sridevi asks "Why always important discussions take place in English even though people talk in the local language." I always used to tell people that landuage (English) knowledge is not a measure of someone's intellectual capacity. Infact I used to be a rebel in the office that I speak in Tamil / Malayalam if my counterpart is of Tamilnadu / Kerala origin.
I don't want to get into typical review structure. The story settings like the family, mileu are quite universal, natural and the incidents are something everybody related to. I can't understand why Sridevi was asked to come 5 weeks earlier but all she does was just attending the English classes secretly without her sister even knowing that Sridevi is not at home for few hours a day. I was bit apprehensive about the Balkis' problem with ending the stories, but thankfully Gauri handles the proceedings deftly. The class scenes are a scream even though reminds "Zabaan Sambhalke" of earlier DD Metro days which had Pankaj Kapoor, Bhavan Balsawar and others.
Sridevi looks convincingly like Shashi every inch and within few minutes we forget that we are seeing a (erstwhile) superstar in a demure role. The way she speaks in English towards the climax is simply stunning and natural. I simply loved her outlook towards life especially with the new found confidence - "When you don't like yourself, nothing looks good for you. When you love yourself the same everything around you looks beautiful." So true and it came across in the opportune moment of my life too. I have started loving myself all again... after a break. Thank you Shashi!!
The kid who plays her son and Shashi's niece - Priya Anand are simply adorable. The class team, especially the sleeping Spanish Nanny and the brooding french Mehdi Nebbou, who loves Sridevi, were scene stealers. But the real scene stealer was Ajith (in Tamil version).. I think this is his ONLY cameo after becoming a successful hero. The moment he appeared on screen, the kinda euphoria created inside the movie hall is something to be seen live. May be I loved the movie so much, I couldn't be so objective about its technical aspects. The cinematography by Laxman and musical score by Amit Trivedi keeps you engaged on the screen.
In school I was not so happy in saying my father's name "Irulappan" or taking my father to my teacher because of his rustic (not so sophisticated) name & looks. At one point even my father had sensed this discomfort and directly asked "Don't you like me coming with you?" I felt ashamed. After years I made sure that all my documents read as "Maheshwaran Irulappan" and the reason could be the underlying guilt. Even though we argue / fight today, he is always a proud father and I am a happy son.