Home Shanti review

  • Home Shanti could be much more nuanced and moving, and with actors of this calibre, it seems a waste not to explore the potential of the show

    An about-to-retire government school teacher has to deal with the anxiety of moving out of the quarters that have been her home for decades and start building a house of her own. The dream house loses some of its charm on paper and in the bricks and cement, constrained as it is by practicalities like budgets and permits, but that doesn’t stop Sarala Joshi (Supriya Pathak) and her family from striving toward their dreams in Posham Pa Pictures’ Home Shanti.

    The Joshis are a regular family in Dehradun, with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Umesh Joshi (Manoj Pahwa), a poet, is good-natured and loved by everyone but completely unreliable for any practical or logistical activities. His wife, Sarala, the matriarch of the family, is burdened with financial and familial pressures but is determined to have her own way with the house she’s building, whatever the cost. She is the quintessential middle-class woman for whom her own house is the ultimate dream, and she literally spends hours overseeing every brick that goes into its making. Their children, Jigyasa and Naman, are regular teenagers: Jigyasa (Chakori Dwivedi), the class geek, trying on make-up to impress her date; Naman (Poojan Chhabra), a Tiger Shroff fan who wants nothing more than his own private gym.

    Each episode explores a challenge the family faces while building the house: the demands of the priest for the Bhoomi Poojan, the architectural plans that just don’t have space for all the rooms each member wants, official government permits, suspicious contractors, and the nameplate for the home. During this time, they are also forced to combat their own fears and insecurities: Umesh learns to share his precious poems on stage, Naman to be more empathetic to his sister, Sarala to be more trusting and not give up on her morals. The lesson in each of these episodes is ever-present and straightforward: as a family, they’re stronger together and work best when they help each other and are empathetic towards each other. Together, they can take on corrupt officers, snooty interior decorators, and even a snake on their land.

    The story seems to be something you’ve seen before, and the conversations are bland and without flavour. The characters, especially Umesh and Sarala, move you, but that is more to do with the acting skills of Pahwa and Pathak, who are, as always, outstanding.

    The show takes on an idea close to the heart of millions in India. Not just the idea of building and owning a home, but the idea of fighting for your dreams and never giving up on them, in spite of the obstacles thrown at them from every direction. The conflicts the characters face are extremely relatable, whether it is Naman eating chicken momo on the day of the puja, or Umesh forgetting the password to the safe because it’s impossible to keep track of all the different passwords needed in everyday life. Sarala struggles to accept her transition from a school vice principal to a retired woman and fights every moment for her morals, whether that is to never bribe or it is to save every penny for a rainy day.

    Home Shanti is an interesting watch and one that will probably be extremely relatable to viewers. However, the story could be much more nuanced and moving, and with actors of this calibre, it seems a waste not to explore the potential of the show and the heights it could have reached.


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