'Home Shanti' review: Kahaani ghar ghar ki
Home Shanti is well-intentioned but too slight and simplistic and, unlike the Mishras of Bhopal in Gullak, it doesn’t have you ask more of the Joshis of Dehradun
Till a few years ago, before land shrunk and population exploded and builders’ flats, condominiums and gated communities became the ‘in’ thing in the big cities, a lot of middle-class families nursed the dream of building their own house from the scratch on their most valued possession: a plot. Perhaps that dream still thrives in smaller towns. From the first episode on bhoomi poojan to making the floor plan to doing the interiors—Akanksha Dua’s new six-episode web series for Disney+Hotstar, Home Shanti, is stuff of people’s reality as well as nostalgia for a way of life gone by.
Many would identify with the Joshi family in Dehradun—cricket and poetry obsessed father Umesh (Manoj Pahwa), school vice principal mother Sarita (Supriya Pathak Kapur), daughter Jigyasa (Chakori Dwivedi) and son Naman (Poojan Chhabra), their neighbours and acquaintances—and their struggles with limited money and resources in turning their dream of a home into reality.
What comes in the way of turning the series into a heart-stopper and a show-stealer is its heavy reliance on what I would call the Gullak formula. It’s not just to do with the middle-class family of four, or the small-town ambience, or the short, limited episodes. Home Shanti does a Gullak right down to the device of the voiceover doling out life lessons—there it is the piggybank there, here it is father doing the righteous summations. It’s déjà vu all the way.
Gullak turns the quotidian riveting. Here, despite the presence of two supremely talented actors—Pathak and Pahwa—Home Shanti doesn’t make you engage with or feel one with its world. It’s because the material and the writing are never able to transcend the banal. The goodness of the characters and their relationships doesn’t come with any nuances or layers, a flatness overrides any complexity. In the largely lackluster and predictable narrative, things begin to warm up only towards the end and an episode involving the permit for the upcoming home packs in more action and punch than the rest of the laidback episodes.
Home Shanti is well-intentioned but too slight and simplistic and, unlike the Mishras of Bhopal in Gullak, it doesn’t have you ask more of the Joshis of Dehradun.