Welcome Home premiered 6th November 2020 on SonyLIV. Directed by Pushkar Mahabal and written by Ankita Narang, the psychological-thriller stars Tina Bhatia, Kashmira Irani, Swarda Thigale, Boloram Das, and Shashi Bhushan alongside other cast members.
There’s No Way Out…
They walked into the house of horror without knowing what sat there to devour them. SonyLIV’s latest movie Welcome Home is a story of horror and gut-wrenching fear and disgust. Welcome Home is set in Khubala, Maharashtra. Our lead characters here are Anuja (Kashmira Irani) and Neha (Swarda Thigale) who goes to a house set in the middle of nowhere for census duty but there they meet Prerna (Tina Bhatia), a pregnant woman with clear signs of abuse. The two, however, decide to leave anyway but later on, consumed with concern, they return only to face something horrifying.
With no escape and owners who’ll do anything to keep them locked up, what will the duo do?
The 2-hours-long film is Anuja and Neha’s struggle to free themselves from a horrifying situation. And in this hell hole, we meet the three main predators, Prerna’s mother (Akshita Arora), an unspeaking father who has been silent for 3 years (Shashi Bhushan), and an over-the-top cook who looks like a predator from the very first look (Boloram Das).
The film, in its theme, captures various ideas like child abuse, violence against women, rape, work-place discrimination, and more. The irony is in the name itself. Welcome Home is a warm term, something used to welcome people/guests home after a long day with warmth and love but there is no warmth or love in this house. It is grotesque and bloody.
After establishing this, the makers focus on the different kinds of violence that a woman has to face in every moment of her life and how it is normalized time and again by the patriarchal mindset. Anuja has an oppressive father and Neha has an abusive and dominant brother. The movie mirrors our society and how oppression is omnipresent.
The whole journey Anuja and Neha go through in the film is scary and unsettling. Their shift from captivity to freedom is something that’ll hold you to the film. Something in them keeps on screaming that they can’t let themselves be in this hell hole and they need to move out, especially in Anuja. But even during these scenes, we see the idea of ingrained patriarchy in our society.
The cast of the film is head-strong and doesn’t miss a beat. Shashi Bhushan as Prerna’s father who says no word other than “amma” at the end of the film is scary and his role makes use of this silence in the most fearsome way ever. His eyes and calmness make it difficult for the viewers to leave.
Boloram Das takes over the role of a brutal cook who finds happiness in others’ pain. He is creepy and undeniably one of the strongest links in the storyline. He sells his character well – his portrayal will make your skin crawl.
Kashmira Irani as Anuja is the film’s voice to break free from what holds you captive and fight back with all you have and she alone has the power to carry the film on her shoulder without even trembling. Her character arc and the strength with which it is brought forth is commendable.
While Anuja is strength, Swarda Thigale as Neha is the pain and fair in the film which suffers but doesn’t break down and both Irani and Thigale carry the film with utmost power and determination.
Tina Bhatia as Prerna and Akshita Arora as Prerna’s mother are two female characters in the film with little to no voice of their own. Prerna is one of their victims and has been brainwashed over the years and her mother advocates all of this. There is a weird calmness in her character when she hears women suffer and that makes it even scarier. The two women fill in as the women who uphold the toxicity of patriarchy and advocate for it.
Stream It or Skip It
STREAM IT! Welcome Home is a watch worthy movie with a lot to say. The film is shot in a way that fits the entire narrative and nowhere does the film move-away from its idea. Though the film feels extremely gloomy and slow-paced at certain points, the character strength and idea of the film make up for everything it might lack.
Welcome Home is now streaming on SonyLIV.
Read our other reviews here.