Home review: A fantastic Indrans anchors a sentimental family drama

'Home' falls in the category of light-weight, 'feel good' Malayalam cinema that wets its feet in an issue of concern but doesn't dare to take the plunge.
A poster of the film
A poster of the film
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Home, directed by Rojin Thomas, is anchored by a wonderful Indrans who plays an insignificant man with many insecurities. Having built his career as a comedian, it's only in later years that his ability to do serious, profound and moving characters came under the spotlight. In Home, Indrans is named Oliver Twist. Ironically, the boy from the Charles Dickens novel is best remembered for asking for 'some more', but Oliver Twist of Home shrinks away from asking for the bare minimum  — respect. As he recedes to the background each time his sons throw barbs at him, Indrans is a pleasure to watch. Few actors can perform with such nuance, making the pain their own.

Several films have come out on how technology has overturned our lives, particularly smartphones. Home is along similar lines, exploring how distracted we have become as every ping and every Like takes us away from those who are in our immediate surroundings. Sreenath Bhasi plays Antony, Oliver Twist's filmmaker son who is struggling to finish the script of his second film. He is unable to focus on his work and decides to go to his parents' home to finish it. But there, his problems only grow by the day.

The unequal relationship between Antony, a successful young man, and his father Oliver Twist, practically a nobody, is further stressed by Antony's admiration for his future father-in-law, Joseph (Srikant Murali). Indrans really tugs at your heartstrings with his earnestness to get some approval from his busy son. He watches from a distance the bonhomie between Antony and Joseph, yearning for a similar rapport. Sreenath, too, delivers as the permanently grouchy Antony.

Watch the trailer of Home:

There are no villains in the script, but I must say the background score is the biggest antagonist in the viewing experience. There is not a single frame when the viewer can absorb the lines and the performance of the actors without the score trying to manipulate our emotions. 'You're meant to laugh here', 'You're meant to weep here', the track keeps saying, like an annoying audience member who just won't stop talking all through the film.

Though the premise is interesting, Rojin stretches the material too thin. There are unnecessary deviations — like the visit to the psychologist — that only make the film longer than it needs to be, making the same jokes and comparisons that have been made in scores of films earlier. Smiley balls, yoga lessons and mocking conversations about mental health. Sigh. Antony's toxic behaviour with his girlfriend also gets a free pass. It all boils down to his 'stress' apparently. Manju Pillai as Kuttiyamma, Oliver Twist's long suffering wife who is expected to take care of all the men at home, from her elderly father-in-law to her younger son Charles (Naslen), gets her share of much deserved outbursts. But the film still romanticises her labour as love, forcing it within the 'happy family' picture of what a home represents.

The reconciliation between Oliver and Antony is dependent on a plot twist that seems forced and too big a coincidence to swallow. Why must Oliver have done something extraordinary for his son to respect him after all?  I would have loved to see the relationship between Antony and Oliver evolving organically without the interference of the poorly designed flashback (it's also a plot loophole — wouldn't someone writing their autobiography research and include the remarkable story of their birth?!). The screenplay takes ages to get to this point and you lose your patience with the repetitive conversations and back-and-forth.

Home falls in the category of lightweight, 'feel good' Malayalam cinema that wets its feet in an issue of concern but doesn't dare to take the plunge. Watch it for Indrans.

Home is now playing on Amazon Prime Video.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.

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