Saturday, 29 April 2017


Sridevi - Intense & Intriguing in Mom


After the globally acclaimed English Vinglish, India's First Female Superstar is back again with another exciting venture. Titled Mom, the film appears to be an intense dramatic thriller about a woman challenged. About how far a mother would go for the sake of her children. With a fantastic ensemble of actors like Akshaye Khanna, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sajal Ali and Adnan Siddiqui, the film promises to be another blockbuster from Sridevi. Add to it that the music has been scored by Madras Mozart, A.R Rahman, and Mom becomes even more intriguing. Directed by ace adman Ravi Udyavar and produced by Boney Kapoor and Zee Studios, the promos of the film have already gone viral. Here's hoping that the film adds another feather to Sridevi's iconic career that completes 50 years.

Mom releases in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu worldwide on 7th July 2017.

Watch the teaser of the film here - Mom Official Teaser - Sridevi






Thursday, 2 October 2014

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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

WHEN HISTORY MEETS MYSTERY

While many may contemptuously flick history as tales of the dead and gone, it has in recent times emerged as the proverbial cow that thriller writers are milking away. The art of combining fascinating history with delectable mystery has been around for some years now and will continue to do so for a while. The recipe is not exactly a guarded secret. Take a historical event or an esoteric legend, preferably lesser known to keep the surprise element intact. Add a tablespoon of mystery. Throw in a pinch of murder, a dash of characters racing against time and a generous lump of twists and turns. Sprinkle conspiracies or riddles or a treasure hunt and finally garnish with an earth-shattering climax. Your bestseller’s ready, a potential one at least. Bon App├ętit!
Most Indian readers believe that it was Dan Brown and his damned codes that spoiled us all but the blame must also be shared by our own home-grown riddler Ashok Banker. Banker’s retelling of our mythological and historical legends along with his crime thrillers paved the way for much that was about to come. Tales of Atlantis and Lemuria have thrilled many. And so have mysteries like Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco that fused the Knights Templar with lost treasure or The Seventh Secret by Irving Wallace, that left many wondering about Hitler’s infamous suicide. Today an Ashwin Sanghi or an Andy McDermott stands on the shoulders of these giants. So what gives a history meets mystery novel such seductive prowess?
Fundamentally we humans are suckers for tales of kings and princesses and knights and fairies. Larger than life stories replete with sights and sounds of a bygone era have charmed generations for decades and our fascination for them may well be imprinted in our DNA now. So when a mystery novel employs historical figures, it turns all the more thrilling. History becomes the plot and its legendary personalities become characters. And somewhere in this amazing transformation, we become a part of history, witnessing it unfold through the pages.
If history raises a mystery notches above commonplace, then a mystery can lend boring history excitement and animation. Drop an intense, intriguing thriller and even the biggest history hater will find it hard to resist the book. Like Mary Poppins would sing, ‘a spoonful of mystery makes the history go down.’ And in doing so, a well-researched mystery fiction perhaps educates and enlightens a lot more than a pile of history books. For example more people might have learned about Jesus and Mary Magdalene through Da Vinci Code then they would have through a historical treatise. How reliable that information is can be debated upon but it at least familiarizes one with the past while vastly entertaining.
Novels where the mystery is placed in a contemporary setting, offer a plot structure where past and present run parallel. It’s an interesting dialectic where one time zone acts upon the other and the action constantly shifts to and fro. Indeed caught in this vortex of flashback and flash-forward, the reader experiences virtual time travel from one era to another. It creates layers within the narrative that collide to give the novel depth and excitement. Parallel tracks also serve as an interesting comparison to measure how far we have evolved. Or are we evolving at all? Sanghi’s Chanakya’s Chant is a fine example.
Finally when past history leads to a present day mystery, it tells you that some stories never end. You see a continuum that has remained alive for centuries. The tale may keep going on forever. Or time may have come after all these decades to right a wrong. Seal the ancient crack. History becomes a context, a cause leading to action. Such a cycle of events, offer an interesting sense of fulfilment to the reader.  

In an interview Ashwin Sanghi predicted that the trend of history meets mystery will soon die its natural death. Critics of this genre also point out that such fictional retelling forces one to draw unnecessary comparisons with what you already know. So if you are planning to write a history meets mystery tale here are a few pointers. Make sure the mystery you create is not simply for the sake of doing so, but a natural extension of the history you are exploring. There’s nothing uglier than yoking history and mystery by mere illogical force. Treat historical characters with care. Artistic license is fine but keep in mind that these are real life legends and you can’t tamper beyond a point. Research the period well. This will not only give you great perspective but also help you recreate the era as perfectly as possible. And have loads of fun. You can’t thrill others unless you are thrilled yourself, can you?   
                                                       (This was written for STORIZEN LITERARY MAGAZINE)
                                                                   http://issuu.com/storizen/docs/april2014/39 


Satyarth Nayak is author of the national bestseller 'The Emperor's Riddles'. A History meets Mystery novel, the book has been acclaimed by Amish Tripathi and Ashwin Sanghi and has entered several Bestseller lists like Asian Age, Amazon and Crossword etc. The novel has outrun its first print run within two months of release and has now gone into Reprint. 



Saturday, 12 April 2014

MY PATH TO BECOMING A PUBLISHED AUTHOR IN INDIA


My path to becoming a published author was probably paved the day my grandfather taught me my first alphabet. Like a benevolent sorcerer, he cast the spell of the written word and I knew I was bewitched for life. Then my mother flung the doors of literature wide open and I made friends with Dickens and Twain and Wilde and Tagore. From the rugged folk tales of Ukraine to the lush tea-party in Carrol’s wonderland, the stories asked me a gentle question -‘Can you carve a universe out of words?’ And a macabre universe at that, for the genre whose siren calls were quietly seducing me was the MYSTERY THRILLER!!!

Throughout literature classes in Venky and Stephen’s, one was enthralled with the wit of Chaucer and the metaphysics of Donne. The agony of Lawrence and the nostalgia of Wordsworth. The bravado of Eliot and the absurdity of Beckett. And yet on dark nights, the infernal howling of the hound of Baskerville would fill me with awe. The climactic revelations of Hercule Poirot would leave me kicking my grey cells for not spotting the obvious. Poe’s pit of morbid terror would slice me like that murderous pendulum. And then came Dan Brown with his damned codes and ciphers and I had found another messiah. Thrillers by Irving Wallace, Suzanne Collins, Lee Child and Ashok Banker have all been text books I have craved to emulate.

Then one random day during one random hour, I stumbled upon this historical legend that absolutely bamboozled me. So staggering and so prolific were the details, that my instinctive reaction was ‘There’s enough matter here for a book!!!’ And before I knew it, I was writing that book. The legend had somehow lured me into giving it a virtual shape and form on my laptop. It was whispering plot points, characters and intrigue and I was merely recording it for posterity. Was that how Lord Ganesha had felt while Vyasa dictated him the Mahabharata? Draft #1 was ready in six months and I had actually carved a cosmos out of words. A cosmos of murder, history, sci-fi, mythology and riddles. Cryptic riddles. The conceit every writer suffers from is the cocky self-assurance that his masterpiece is worthy enough to be shared with others. So my magnum opus was clamouring for an audience now.

The merciful thing about publishing in India is that most publishers are open to unsolicited submissions. In the West where publishing houses will not touch your manuscript unless you have a literary agent representing you, the situation here is friendlier with the agent culture still in its infancy. So all it took was logging on to publishing websites and mailing my mystery thriller. Some asked for an initial synopsis & sample chapters. While sending your work is relatively simple, most unsolicited matter goes to the slush pile where scores of manuscripts lie waiting to be picked and read. Unless you can network around, there’s precious little to do but wait. Soon feedback started knocking on my laptop. Some declined while some asked for changes. FYI no publishing house will ever give an elaborate analysis but only a few pointers to rework. Some of this early feedback made a lot of sense and shaped much of the present structure of my book. The tide turned when two publishing houses wrote saying they love my thriller. It turned again when Red Ink became my literary agency.

From then on it was a process of negotiations, discussions, consultations and submissions until we finally zeroed in on Amaryllis. Though contracts drafted by publishing houses are pretty straightforward, it helped me to have an agent who made sure I got the best possible deal. One also needs to be prepared to see one’s manuscript go through various rounds of edits to make it even better. Red Ink’s brilliant editorial team further sharpened my thriller following which Amaryllis editors did their round of editing and impeccable proof-reading. Finalising the cover took longer than I had imagined but then it was all perfectly destined to hit the stands at the Delhi World Book Fair 2014 this February.

As I mentioned, the agent culture is still in its fledgling stage in India. There are only a handful of genuine literary agencies in India like Red Ink, Writer's Side, Jacaranda etc. The international norm for agents is that they make money only when your book makes money. Genuine agencies generally don't charge for their services like pitching your book to publishers, editing your manuscript etc. Ideally they demand their commission only after you sign a book deal with a publishing house. In case you don't land up with a literary agent to represent you, don't lose heart. Be relentless and keep pitching your book to as many publishing houses as possible. Don't make the common error of going only after the big ones. Smaller publishing houses often are a better bet, especially for debut writers and can end up giving you greater attention and exposure. Finally if nothing works out, there's always Self-Publishing. This phenomenon has become really big in India in recent times and you will find a zillion sites ready to help you out. Even Amazon's legendary Createspace is now available in India now, albeit be informed that this route is all about financial investment and promotion effort from your side.  

Your first book is always precious. My thriller’s out now and there’s lots to be thankful for. It has made it to several Bestseller charts...rave reviews in the media...praise from authors like Amish Tripathi & Ashwin Sanghi...tweets from Gauri Shinde.....Reprint within three months,,,,,Bollywood interest in converting it into a film....But perhaps the greatest joy is that, my gentle answer to that gentle question is ‘I can. And so can anyone who loves to write.’   


Satyarth Nayak is author of the new national bestseller 'The Emperor's Riddles'. A History meets Mystery novel, the book has been acclaimed by Amish Tripathi and Ashwin Sanghi and has entered several Bestseller lists like Asian Age, Amazon, Crossword & DC Books etc. The novel has outrun its first print run within two months of release and has now gone into Reprint. 




  

          







    







Tuesday, 4 March 2014

FIDDLE O DIDDLE....CAN YOU CRACK THE RIDDLE???

For Oedipus, the riddle of the Sphinx may be a matter of life and death but for us lesser mortals, a good, juicy riddle is nothing short of absolute joy that one can suck on with delight. Yes, the answer eludes us at first. It hides behind our back making finger horns over our head. Ducks into a hole snickering in mirth. But then the epiphany comes and we drag the answer out of its hiding by its hair. A tiny victory. A vast joy.

Riddle have been around for ages galore. The quirky tales of Vikram Betal are some of the oldest Indian conundrums. We have the Greek hero who saw through the puzzle of the Sphinx and slayed the monster who butchered numerous wayfarers. Then again Samson outwitted the Philistines with that lethal riddle of the lion and the beehive. Norse mythology is replete with posers featuring the almighty Odin. The Sumerian Riddle of the Blind reflects how high education featured in the civilization's scheme of things. So whether it's the poetic paheliyan of Aamir Khusrao, the Mad Hatter asking 'Why are ravens like writing desks', Albert Einstein's iconic Fish Riddle or the more recent Tolkein's White Horses and Dan Brown's codes, riddles continue to entertain, exemplify and educate. 

So why do riddles seduce us so easily? Interestingly Aristotle thought riddles significant brain fodder to be included in his Rhetoric. His mentor Plato seemed to venerate them a lot more as he believed that a good riddle expressed that which cannot be otherwise expressed literally. Sounds awfully similar to Christ's Parables or Aesop's Fables one may say and the fundamental point being that riddles describe the ultimate truths of our universe in an entertaining and informal way making us wiser. They teach us cosmic laws without taking the pulpit. They enlighten us while frolicking with us. It is this oxymoron that keeps them forever relevant and bewitching. 

Another point most people miss is how riddles grasp our imagination and stretch it far beyond limit. Many enigmas are deliberately clothed in the classic Double Entendre or double meaning. A multitude of meanings that unconsciously introduce us to the possibility of multiplicity. Infinite realms. Parallel universes. The riddles make a silent appeal to our senses to discard the monochrome and embrace the infinity. An appeal to ventilate our mind with the thousand possibilities and probabilities that co-exist in the cosmos. To become an exciting polygon.  

But for me their greatest appeal lies in the fact that they show us how every problem actually contains its own solution. You may wander through the words of the riddle in abject confusion thinking this is the end of the world. But then you pull a thread and the entire edifice unravels itself. unveiling the answer you seek. The revelation you crave. And so is it with life and all the million post-lapsarian dilemmas it's riddled with for us to overcome. For each time you crack a code, you know you can go on with life for another day or two. 

Satyarth Nayak is the author of the latest Indian fiction thriller ''THE EMPEROR'S RIDDLES''. An exciting mystery of ten riddles with elements of Ancient Indian history, sci-fi and Buddhist mythology, the thriller is already carrying quotes from celebrated mystery writers like Ashwin Sanghi & Amish Tripathi on its cover. The book hit the stands at the recent Delhi World Book Fair 2014 where it was a top seller and is now available on Flipkart, Amazon.in, Infibeam & Crossword.  


   








Monday, 17 September 2012

WHY 'ENGLISH VINGLISH' TRIUMPHED AT TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL

The news has spread like wild-fire. Times of India, Indian Express, The Hindu, Hindustan Times....it'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!!!



Friday, 7 September 2012

WHY 'ENGLISH-VINGLISH' MOVIE IS A MUST WATCH!!!


2012 has seen some spectacular movies in the past eight months and is gearing up for a flood of new releases in the coming four. Kahaani celebrated the female hero once more while Agneepath screamed loud and clear that remake is not always a bad word. Now Barfi looks like RK's ode to Chaplin and Benigni while Heroine promises to slice open the festering underbelly of the Mumbai filmdom. Not to mention the epic clash of the Khan triumvirate in November and December. So why do I choose to spill ink over English Vinglish? Because English Vinglish matters!!!

First and foremost, EV brings back an artiste who's hailed by millions as the greatest and most versatile actress of Indian Cinema. I say Indian because Sridevi remains the only star till date who was the undisputed Numero Uno in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu film industries at once for more than a decade. The only actress who is still worshipped in the three industries for a roll-call of classics she immortalised with pitch-perfect performances. She could do a tearful Moondaram Pirai and a riotous Kshanam Kshanam with equal ease. Hailed as the First Female Superstar of Bollywood, she also remains the longest running No.1 in Hindi Cinema and one of the highest paid actresses ever. Sridevi saw national fame and international glory that her successors could only dream about and such was her star power that despite flops in the nineties, she still remained the official No.1. When she took a break in 97, the media was quick to brand her the Last Empress and now when she is back, the producer of her film R. Balki welcomes her as the 'Biggest Female Superstar' and the 'Only true pan Indian superstar.' Guess with some names, the hysteria never ceases.

EV also matters because it promises to be another game-changer just like Sridevi was in the 80s. After Rekha, the Hindi film heroine was again in danger of becoming the hero's sidekick. New actresses of this era lacked the talent and charisma to carry films on their fragile shoulders. And then came La Devi!!! She not only elevated the Indian heroine but took it to such dizzying heights that overnight she was nicknamed the Female Bachchan. At one point in late 80s, she even became more powerful than Bachchan himself. Such was her clout that she could refuse films with him unless she had equal footing or a double-role as in Khuda Gawah. Sridevi was called the 'hero' of her films and Boney Kapoors and Yash Chopras lined her doorstep with scripts where she was the pivot and the heroes mere accessories. Nagina, Chandni, Chaalbaz, Lamhe, Gumrah, Laadla, Judaai...it became famous in Bollywood that when Sridevi was in the film, no one asked who the hero was!!! No wonder Mr.India was jokingly called Miss India and even Steven Spielberg could not resist her charm and sent her feelers for Jurassic Park. Now after 15 years her latest director Gauri Shinde also says 'Sridevi is the hero in my film'. Karisma and Tabu in the past and now Kareena and of course Vidya have brought back heroine-centric roles but with the original Queen Bee at its helm, EV looks all set to consolidate female oriented movies.

Gauri is another gigantic reason why EV really matters. Film direction in India has inexplicably remained a Men Only territory. Probably the stigma stapled to the film industry kept women away from behind the camera in the past until choreography and costumes opened the first few doors. Looking back the only name that comes to mind is the genius of Sai Paranjpye who gave us classics like Chashme Baddoor, Katha and Sparsh. But these films are largely considered children of the so-called Parallel Cinema of the 80s and rightly so to some extent. Even names like Deepa Mehta and Mira Nair have chosen to create their own brand of films. Cast a glance at hardcore mainstream Indian cinema and you find only men until a gutsy Farah Khan wielded the megaphone in 2004 with Main Hoon Na and now Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti. Gauri is a highly exciting addition to this club and she is surely going to inspire many more ladies to take the plunge and break the clutter.


EV also matters because it's unconventional like Balki's films. Gauri confessed at a TV show that she was never a fan of 80s cinema and that's evident from the promos of EV. This is not your masala potboiler or lovesick romantic saga or a family feud melodrama. One word that has been overused for the promos is 'refreshing' and one cannot agree more. What Gauri is giving us is a film that avoids cliches, tackles international issues and asks real questions. Even the music is not a typical shor-sharaba affair but a zingy melody that flows just right with the film's soul. And Sridevi is not the Superstar who owns the film but Sashi who respects the film. The feat that EV got a 10 MINUTE STANDING OVATION at Toronto Film Festival 2012 is simply because it's today's film with today's outlook. Most importantly the genius of EV is that while it's proud of being different, it's not snobbish. It does not tell you that it's a film solely for connoisseurs at festivals. It's a film that seems to tackle its central problem with such adorable gaiety and endearing fun that you are at once drawn towards its energy. While Gauri with her NY film-making sensibilities has created an uber-chic international product, she has given it just the right dose of Bollywood to keep it mainstream. It might alienate her from hinterland viewers who thrive on Dabanggs and Rowdy Rathores but she has gained an international audience who are viewing Hindi cinema with new found respect.


The role taken up by Sridevi in EV also tells you why the film matters. It's a known fact that after reaching the top, stars grow paranoid about their image and bigger the star, larger the consuming need to be god. Recent examples are of course the Khans who are invincible in almost every film. Today when I see a SRK or a Salman, I don't see the actor anymore. I only see the star. The superstar. Even when SRK does a My Name is Khan, I see SRK not Rizwan. Sridevi being the Superstar herself could have easily chosen a comeback vehicle where she zooms into the screen as the perfect glamour goddess and blinds everyone with a larger than life character. Instead her first look is a timid, awkward and gawky lady struggling to read English while the audience smirks. She could have had a banner that announces 'SRIDEVI IS BACK' with a flourish but she keeps her back to her viewers in self-effacing way as if she's embarrassed to be here again. When I first heard that EV was to be shot in New York, I had prepared myself to see her wrapped in Prada and Chanel. Instead I see a housewife in sarees with a ponytail. EV matters because Sridevi has the courage and humility to poke fun at herself. Because she quietly reminds others that you may be a Superstar but you are an actor first who must respect his craft. An actor who does not only play ultra-perfect characters that alienate audiences but an actor who can play characters that are far from perfect and can still inspire. EV will hopefully give more megastars courage to take up simpler roles where a viewer says, 'That's so like me.'


Finally EV matters because it addresses a universal problem faced by Indians and many others across the world. The embarrassment of not being fluent in English. As the film's synopsis says that money, fame and English are celebrated in today's society and nothing can be more true. Non-English speakers are constantly looked down upon as 'Hindi Medium' and life for them is series of battles at every stage. EV matters the most because it tells you that a language is simply that. A language. Nothing more and nothing less. The posters of EV show Sridevi with her arms outstretched as letters and words float around her in pieces. She stands liberated having ripped her cage to pieces. EV teaches you to get up and mend your complexes. On the way you might discover that it was never a weakness to begin with. And that's why EV is different from the show Mind Your Language. That show was about the need to master English but EV looks more like a film that perhaps teaches you to transcend language. Stop fighting over it. Teaches you to realize that you don't need language to communicate. Only emotions.


That's why English Vinglish matters. That's why the trailer has crossed 1 million views on YouTube. That's why it's songs are rocking the charts. But for my mom, EV matters because of that one look Sridevi gives when her husband says, 'My wife was born to make laddoos.' Touche!!!