Gauri Shinde's English Vinglish is a movie that never fails to warm your heart, no matter how many times you watch it.
A beautiful, engaging drama, I love everything about the film. And yet, I have a complaint. Or rather, not a complaint, but an afterthought - one that has stuck with me through all the viewings of the film.
What would it have been like if Shashi and Laurent had ended up together?
Yes, yes I know that it was never about Shashi finding another love, but rather, falling back in love with herself. I know that while Laurent fell for Shashi's charm, Shashi didn't think of him as anything other than a friend.
I know the facts, and the end that happened, and the way the story unveiled... and yet, I can't help but imagine a different future for one of my most favourite fictional couples.
In an alternate universe that I dream of, I imagine Laurent's love being reciprocated. I imagine Shashi and Laurent drowning in heartfelt conversations while whipping up recipes, and serving warmth and love to all that they meet. I see Shashi come to the realization that you can keep yourself first, and still, be loved and adored. I see a relationship of equals... a modern-day fairytale.
Shashi and Laurent depicted the kind of romance that is beautiful, mature, and understanding. Much like Shashi, Laurent chose to see the good in people and offer a comforting smile, or a patient ear, to those in trouble. In Indian households, more often than, this job automatically falls upon mothers like Shashi.
Right at the starting when they first meet, before he even develops feelings for her, he offers Shashi a supportive remark with her coffee. If that isn't being a gentleman, a quality severely lacking in Satish, then what is?
Of course, as they spend time together as classmates, and later friends, we find that, unlike Shashi and Satish, Shashi and Laurent have a lot more in common. Then whether it their passion for cooking or their gentle approach to life.
However, more than their likes, it's how Shashi feels right at home in sharing her thoughts with Laurent that makes me believe in them as a couple.
Because more than having common likes or dislikes, it's the ability to share what you feel, the comfort of knowing you're heard, that makes a relationship special. And that's exactly where Satish failed, even as Laurent managed it with natural ease.
Of course, he also wore his heart on his sleeve and didn't shy away from admitting he liked Shashi. But, when he discovered she didn't reciprocate his feelings, he didn't abandon their friendship.
He still turned up at her niece's wedding, celebrated her speech, and accepted his fate (and his broken heart) with a rueful smile.
The movie ended with Satish realizing his wife is a gem he failed to appreciate. And within the film's setting both he and Shashi appeared to change for the better - he grew less arrogant, and Shashi, more confident.
It's a nice, realistic, relatable ending. And yet, I can't help but dream of what could have been.