Cast: Kashmira Irani, Swarda Thigale, Shashi Bhushan, Tina Bhatiya, Boloram Das, Akshita Arora
Director: Pushkar Sunil Mahabal
Even though the concept of Sony LIV's latest offering Welcome Home is not entirely new, giving credit where it is due, the treatment of Pushkar Sunil Mahabal directorial is certainly fresh and has an edge that will creep you out in bits and pieces. An oddball ensemble lends sincerity to this thriller, thus making it one of the movies to look out for if you are game for some eerie, indie drama this weekend.
Set in Nagpur, Welcome Home does well with themes of household abuse and emancipation, while it bares patriarchy that normalises gender bias. Through one of the dialogues uttered by actress Swarda Thigale (Neha), it becomes evident how domestic violence is an accepted norm, as she casually questions her colleague, "Your father did not beat up your mother?"
Faceless men openly threaten women with dire consequences if they go against their will. Instances such as these are numerous throughout the film and the writer makes it certain that albeit the storyline takes a vengeful turn in the second half of its runtime, there are varied ways through which it is implied that gender stereotypes are here and quite in the open.
Neha and Anuja (Kashmira Irani) are census workers and chance upon a property that is in a secluded spot. The dungeons here run deep and bitter realities are waiting to reel them in a trap. Will they manage to outsmart the perpetrators is what the two-hour-long movie aims to answer.
Home here becomes a metaphor for horrors that go into subduing women. You seem to get a drift of where the plot is headed but there are ample twists at every corner to keep the suspense quotient alive. It also invests us in the movie and forces us to engage with it beyond the superficiality of viewing. This becomes the biggest takeaways of this revenge drama.
Since Welcome Home is inspired by true events, it will certainly reaffirm the saying for you, "Reality is stranger than fiction."
Welcome Home is not just another movie but carries gracefully a narrative that seeks transformation and liberation from victimhood, which as Anuja points out, does not rest upon gender, but can happen with anyone.