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Wisdom of Bollywood

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One thing I love about Indian movies – apart from them being most wildly entertaining – is the fact that they all speak the language of deep wisdom. After a journey of many trials and tribulations, shed tears and broken hearts, shattered pride and hurt feelings, the majority of them end on a forgiving and conciliatory note: where enemies become friends and bitterness transforms into catharsis. Every Indian movie I’ve seen propagates understanding, tolerance, and love throughout humanity. Every time I watch an Indian movie, I become a slightly better person.

One of the movies I watched last week-end during the Indian Film Festival resonated with me particularly in that regard. Its main protagonist was a woman: an ordinary Indian housewife whose passion is making exquisite laddoos. But she’s the subject of much insensitive mocking from her husband and young daughter because of her ignorance of the English language. To help her only sister, who lives in New York, prepare her daughter’s (our heroine’s niece’s) wedding, our brave but bashful heroine travels across the pond and, after a hideous episode in a cafe, where she finds herself unable to order a measly cup of coffee, enrolls in an English language course.

I’m not going to tell you what happens in the story, but at some point, our heroine is heard saying something along the following lines:

It’s nobody’s duty, but yours, to make you feel good about yourself. If you feel inferior, it’s your responsibility to do something about it. If you’re unhappy with yourself, you’re attracted to the new and unknown, but if you’re content with the person you are, your life is beautiful, exciting, and meaningful. 

We all feel unappreciated at times. With me, it’s been pretty much a perennial struggle, especially since I started living with my companion and expecting praise from left and right! But I keep reminding myself – and this movie was a boost to that effort – that it’s nobody else’s job but mine to acknowledge my value as a human being, just as it is nobody else’s job but mine to elaborate on the best version of my own self.

Hey, but you should check out the movie!  English Vinglish is what you’re looking for. (Also, Amitabh Bachchan has a hilaaaarious cameo in it!)

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