Verdict: Welcome Home handles nuanced emotions and complex relationships deftly.
Director duo Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukhtankar has given us stunning and award-winning films like Kaasav and Astu. Their latest venture Welcome Home is about a family caught in between an emotional turmoil. It implores you to understand what goes on in a woman’s mind when she decides to up and leave a marriage that seems flawless to anyone outside of it.
What’s Welcome Home About:
The movie’s basic theme is about an upper-middle-class middle-aged professor Dr. Saudamini Joshi (Mrinal Kulkarni) from Pune. Saudamini packs her bags and leaves her husband’s house to live with her parents and is accompanied by her 11-year-old daughter Cookie and her ill mother-in-law. The movie explores Saudamini’s and her family’s emotional aftermath after she announces her decision to never return to her husband’s house. She has a strong support structure in her wise father (Dr. Mohan Agashe), her loving mother (Uttara Baokar) and her close friend Suresh (Sumeet Raghavan). But Saudamini needs her own time and space to figure life out. While her family is accepting and loving, they try to talk her into returning to her house and salvaging her marriage. We see Saudamini’s internal journey from a frayed, unsure woman to someone who takes her life in her own hands and wants a home for herself and her daughter, while struggling to deal with the stinging pain of separation.
Welcome Home focuses on complex themes of being a divorcee in today’s society. It depicts how even the most educated and well-adjusted women find it difficult to leave an unhappy marriage due to societal pressure. It shows how different women with different backgrounds look at separation and how at the bottom of it all, all they want is a place they can call home. The film smartly touches upon how no one raises an eyebrow if a man decides to stay single but a woman is not given the same kind of respect and space. Welcome Home juxtaposes two schools of thought – an older one where women were expected to “adjust” to succeed at marriage and a modern one where educated, independent women think differently. One of the lines in the film sums it all up pretty well “Tadzod tapshilaat karavi, mullyaat navhe.” The film is packed with top-notch performances by everyone – Mrinal Kulkarni, Dr. Mohan Agashe, Uttara Baokar, and Sumeet Raghavan – with beautiful matter-of-fact dialogues that convey complicated thoughts simply and effectively.
What Could’ve Been Better:
Welcome Home is not your run-of-the-mill light-hearted movie. It’s heavy and handles a mature subject matter, albeit deftly. A few plot points about the supporting characters could’ve been done away with to give way to a crisper runtime.
Why You Should Watch:
Directed by the National Award-winning duo Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukhtankar, Welcome Home communicates to audiences from a woman’s point of view and it’s refreshing. The lead cast gives applause-worthy performances as they handle nuanced emotions with realism and grace. Watch Welcome Home over the weekend if you are in the mood for some good cinema.