Cast: Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Kusha Kapila, Dilnaz Irani, Pavleen Gujral, Chaitannya Choudhry, Nitanshi Goel and Amit Sadh
Director: Sonal Joshi
Rating: 3 Moons
“Sukhee naam wale kabhi dukhi nahi hotay.” How many times do you hear this dialogue in Sonal Joshi’s slice-of-life film on the existential crisis of a middle-class Punjabi housewife? Too many times. And, unfortunately, it’s not entirely true. Because the Sukhee (Shilpa Shetty Kundra) in question here is dissatisfied with her role as a woman who is there solely to commit to her duties as a wife and mother. She’s left a rambunctious and carefree past in Delhi to marry Guru Kalra (Chaitannya Choudhry) and move to small town called Anandkot. She was once an Army daughter with a strong will and drop dead gorgeous looks. But all that changes with marriage and motherhood. It turns out she has suppressed all her dreams and ambitions in return for her marriage to husband who has no romance left in him and questions her “‘Saara din tum ghar par karti hi kya ho?” all the time. It’s a bit like Gauri Shinde’s , English Vinglish, where is denied a life of her own and lives only serve to her family.
All that changes when Sukhee receives an invitation for a school reunion with a girl gang of class ’97 (Kusha Kapila, Dilnaz Irani, Pavleen Gujral) that shakes her out of boredom and she decides to go despite objections from Guru and her daughter Jassi (Nitashi Goel). Director Sonal Joshi’s story showcases the exhaustion of almost every middle-class Indian housewife who marries early and forfeits her dreams to put everyone else’s needs before her own. She is required, but not valued. If she look inwards and decide to break free from the shackles of domestic life and revisit her past, will her family think she is selfish? Sukhee has some heart-warming moments and is promising but goes off track with pointless humour and jokes that fail to pack a punch. When the narrative shifts to Delhi for the reunion, things get chaotic, and it turns out the girl gang does not really have much to do except act as cheerleaders as Sukhee relives her teenage years over the course of just seven days and goes from being a wife and mother to be just a woman once again. Yes, there’s a love track with old school friend Vikram (Amit Sadh) too that does not make sense and is wasted in the film that drags on endlessly for 2 hours and 21 minutes and could have ended 20 minutes sooner.
Shilpa Shetty Kundra is perfect as Sukhee and, forgetting her sultry pin-up girl past, gets into the skin of a middle-class housewife with ease. Chaitannya Choudhry as the husband and Nitashi Goes as the daughter are rather powerful in playing their flawed characters. But the film lacks pace, struggles to hold attention, and gets to be a bit too preachy towards the end as Sukhee, after rediscovering happiness, faces the dilemma of going back to her regular humdrum existence. It’s a sweet enough story, even impactful, but not one you have not tasted before.