After tepid start, 'English Vinglish' gathers steam

Oct 17, 2012 Radhika Bhirani

New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) A good story always sells - and "English Vinglish" is proof it. After a lukewarm response in the first week, the simple story with a big message, picked up at the box office in its second week with homemakers, youngsters and professionals queuing up.

Released on Oct 5, the Sridevi-starrer was hailed by critics but initial footfalls didn't match up.

Word of mouth publicity indeed helped and people of all age groups are taking a liking to "English Vinglish", a perfect comeback vehicle for Sridevi, whose outstanding performance as a simple housewife struggling with English has wowed fans.

From the 60 to 70 percent footfalls in its first weekend, "English Vinglish" went on to register 90 to 100 percent during the second weekend, said capital-based Puneet Sahay of Spice Cinemas.

"Cinemas were jampacked for 'English Vinglish' during the second week. Senior citizens especially are coming to watch the movie for Sridevi," Sahay told IANS.

Directed by debutant Gauri Shinde, the movie has grossed approximately Rs.45.78 crore worldwide in 10 days.

Its opening weekend collection was a gross Rs.27 crore worldwide. But by Oct 14, it made Rs.28.78 crore net in India, and approximately Rs.17 crore overseas.

"This isn't the kind of film you expect to be houseful from the first show. It's a family drama and is picked up by word of mouth. The Hindi version of 'English Vinglish' was made for Rs.15 crore, so we have certainly recovered our money," producer R. Balki, also Shinde's husband, told IANS.

Rajesh Thadani of Multimedia Combines added: "The film is doing excellent business at the box office. The film has picked up by word of mouth in the second weekend, and will survive for a longer period."

The film received a good response in the south as well. First week collections from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh generated Rs.2.52 crore. It released in 147 screens in Tamil Nadu - of these, 110 screened the Tamil version.

Chennai-based trade analyst Trinath said: "In Tamil Nadu, 'English Vinglish' had a tremendous opening because of Tamil actor Ajith's presence (cameo in the Tamil and Telugu versions). Fans of the actor came to watch their superstar with yesteryear actress Sridevi."

No wonder then that the movie has proved to be a warm welcome for Sridevi, who was away from the silver screen for 15 years.

As Shashi, a laddoo-making housewife who grows on self-confidence on her visit to New York, the actress has touched many hearts. Shashi feels tempted to learn English after her daughter snubs her incessantly, and her husband humiliates and ignores her unknowingly on a day-to-day basis. Shashi wants to feel empowered, and does so with conviction.

"They say actions speak louder than words, and in this case, actions speak louder than English words. Language no bar, age no bar; this is a movie that transcends the taboos of this aspirational Indian society," Kavya Mishra, 25, told IANS.

The movie also serves as a lesson for children who bully their parents, said Anvesha Singh, a mother of two.

"These days children are very well exposed to technology and they try to bully parents by saying 'You don't know this or that', 'Let me be', which hurt parents. I hope after watching this movie, children become more sensitive in treating their parents," said Singh.

Ashok Sethi, 54, loved the scene where Sridevi says "Man cooks, it is an art! Women cooks, it is a duty!".

"It has really made me appreciate my wife's efforts to cook new things every day just to see a smile on my face after I return home from a tiring day at work. And these are things we often ignore," he said.

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