Usually a review focusses on what the film is about. However, in this review of the delectably charming Malayalam film #Home, I would like to focus on what it is not about and you will soon understand why.
#Home is not a murder mystery. Is not a revenge thriller. Is not about how a crime is done smartly and buried for ever. Is not a political drama. Is not meant to arouse patriotic or Nationalistic feelings. Does not have characters spitting expletives. Does not have adult content. Does not take pot shots at any religion. Does not dwell into caste divisions in the society. The film is not about feminism too. It does not have woke references. And it is not a soft mushy romance film as well. And finally it does not boast a star cast either.
You will agree that most of the recent films we have been seeing on OTT are all about one of the above. Frankly, one has become tired of the excessive crime related content on screen. Not to mention of the flood of adult content on show. #Home comes as a whiff of fresh air. After a long time, it is a feel good film about home, its people and their feelings. A genre almost forgotten by most film makers.
As I was watching the film, honestly I felt as if the camera and the mics have been brought into our own homes. For most part, the film holds a mirror to us. The story line of the film is simple. Set in a small town of Kerala, the film revolves around an upper middle class family which has a father who is retired, his wife who was a nurse in the past but has her own niggling health issues now, a grown up son who is a struggling and aspiring film director, another teenage, pampered son and a grandfather who has age related health issues and is sort of immobile.
The retired father played by a brilliant Indrans is at the core of this story. Though not so old, he is meek and has problems dealing with technology. He is despised by all and is looked down by the sons as a loser. From here, the story arc is predictable. We know that the culmination of the film will be how the Indrans character redeems himself in the eyes of his family members others.
When Indrans addresses his sons “makkale” that oozes with fondness and affection, I remembered my own grandfather who used to address all of us like that. When Indrans’ wife refers to the smart phone as a “kuthi thondunna” phone, it is exactly how a smart phone is referred to in colloquial Malayalam! When Indrans struggles to install his new smart phone, its myriad apps and tries to take help of his teenage son for the same, it seems a very familiar scene. When the son shows gross impatience to do all that for his dad and dismisses his basic queries with contempt, well, that is also a very familiar scene to us. And Indrans diligently taking notes of all the steps for “entering into” FB or “Whatsup” is of course action replay of what we see in real life.
The star among the cast is Indrans. As the father who is yearning for some recognition and at the same time being self-aware of his limitations, he hits it out of the park. And that too for an actor who as far as I remember, only played frivolous roles to provide comedy relief in his earlier films, this is a huge opportunity and he clutches with both his fists to deliver a memorable performance. Incidentally he had a very good role in ‘Malik’ too which he did very well. The cast that includes Srinath Bassi, Manju Pillai, and Nalsen Gafoor play their parts very competently.
The film’s writing handled by the director Rojin Thomas is simple and has some real laugh out loud moments. Particularly, I liked the scenes where Indrans and his long-time friend Johny Suryan come together. I also liked the way the women characters are written in the film. They seem plucked out of real life. Watch out for the scenes involving the friend played by Johny and his wife.
If I have to pick up holes in the film, it will be only the length and the pace. At more than two and half hours, it’s a tad longish. Also the pace in the first 20 mins is too slow due to which one may choose to switch over to your mobile phones, which exactly is an issue the film tries to address. Bassi’s girlfriend putting up with all his tantrums also was a bit not relatable for today’s times, I thought. But these are minor issues in an otherwise engaging film.
Overall, Director Rojin Thomas tells a story that is moving in most parts. The films brings the ills of this generation’s obsession with technology by ignoring relationships and feelings at home very well, without being preachy. I would recommend this film as a Must Watch even if you are not a Mallu and thank me later. #Home is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Post Script: #Home and another recent film Kuruthi are some reasons for me to say that Malayalam cinema has today transcended all boundaries to become “The Great Indian Malayalam Cinema” being avowed and celebrated by all. Please read my piece if you haven’t yet and leave your thoughts.