Not since Rajinikanth has an Indian actor made the impact that Sridevi has in Japan, thanks to a preview and festival screening of English Vinglish...and the film has not even been released there as yet!
In English Vinglish, Sridevi enrolls for an English speaking course in order to please her husband and family.
Apparently, the theme of an Asian woman struggling with the English language has struck a universal code in Japan. And the Japanese women, themselves driven to despair by the linguistic discrepancies of the diaspora, have embraced the film in a big way.
Now they want to meet Sridevi before the film gets a Japanese release in December.
Speaking from Tokyo where he is currently visiting to launch the film, producer R Balki said, "The response is terrific. Every Japanese woman identified with Sridevi. The Japanese love the film. Anyone and everyone who has seen it has connected immediately with the theme of linguistic barricading."
On Sunday evening, English Vinglish was screened in Tokyo's Aichi Women's Film Festival. And now the film gets an all-Japan commercial release. Says Balki excitedly, "We are planning a very wide Japanese release. The distributors in Japan think this is the first time after the films of Rajnikanth that the Japanese will connect with in such a huge way."
He adds, the demand to meet Sridevi in Japan is deafening. "Gauri (English Vinglish director Gauri Shinde) and Sridevi have become very popular here. The word on the film in Japan is very strong. Sridevi must come to Japan."