MUMBAI: Sridevi’s co-star the French actor Mehdi Nebbou has apparently become a big Sri fan after working with her. And we aren’t talking about just being her fan as an actress. Apparently Mehdi found her reticence and quietude very charming.
Says R Balki, the producer of their film English Vinglish, “It was a really curious contradiction. On screen Sridevi was playing a very talkative woman. But once the camera was off she was very reserved to begin with. But gradually as we shot in New York she opened up and began to mingle with all of us.”
Apparently Mehdi taught Sridevi some French in exchange of a smattering of Tamil that she taught him. Quite in character, considering they play two unlikely companions from different parts of the world who come together in the US to learn the English language.
Says Balki, “It’s really strange. But we don’t value Hindi as much as we do English. Sridevi plays a victim of that snobbery. Her own husband, played by Adil Hussain, unintentionally humiliates her for not being able to speak English. Now in France they value their own language. But once they step out of their own country they feel inadequate if they can’t converse in English. So both Sri and Mehdi’s character face a common dilemma.”
Having grown fond of one another Sri and Mehdi would now be meeting up in Toronto in October where English Vinglish has been invited to be part of the prestigious “Gala’ section at the Toronto Film Festival.
Says Balki, “Sri is definitely coming to Toronto. And so is Mehdi. We are in for a gala time there. Pun intended.”