Ghar Waapsi is a lot more than mere family drama

Vishal Vashishtha and Anushka Kaushik in Ghar Waapsi, streaming on Disney+Hotstar. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Since OTT began, we have seen family dramas too apart from the predominant thrillers. Comparisons can be odious but such forays include vapid emotional stories and even a few overrated ones like the Gullak franchise, which is meant to be a tepid comedy. Most of these dramas fail to really impact the viewer, other than just as shallow entertainment for viewers seeking a change from thrillers.

And this is precisely where Ghar Waapsi scores. It is unique, refreshingly relatable, completely original and riveting too.

Shekhar Dwivedi (Vishal Vashishtha) returns home to small-town Indore after two years, having been removed from his corporate job in Bangalore thanks to the usual downsizing issues. He keeps his loss of job as a secret from his affectionate parents Ratan Lal (Atul Srivastava) and Madhuvanti (Vibha Chhibber). As an earning member and the eldest of three, Shekhar happens to be their favorite, a fact of which his sister Suruchi (Anushka Kaushik) and brother Sanju (Saad Bilgrami) are acutely aware, and not really chucked about.

For a long while, Shekhar enjoys the sudden relaxation that comes from an idle life  and interacts also with his friend, Darshan (Ajitesh Gupta), even as he is perplexed why his other friend, Manish Bhayya (Gyanendra Tripathi) has actually thrown away a lucrative job abroad to become a café owner in Indore.

Shekhar, while at home, has a lot on his plate even as he keeps hunting for jobs online. His father’s travel agency is not in a good financial state and though his father tells him to leave the company’s affairs to him (at a critical point, Shekhar has had to confide that he is jobless) and focus on his own goals, he finds that younger brother Sanju has secretly used a large fund from it.

Shekhar’s sister too is hostile to him as she argues that he is not the same brother as he was before. What’s more, she is in love with a young man, Kunal (Divyaguarav Rana) who is a Punjabi, something that their traditional mother will not accept.

Shekhar also encounters his ex-flame Riddhima (Akanksha Thakur), who is a divorcee now. This is one step higher than marrying into the community, he admits to his mother when there is a family confrontation on Suruchi’s and his love.

Soon, Riddhima moves to Bangalore on a job, and Shekhar gets another assignment there too. What happens next?

On the surface just a family drama, Ghar Waapsi goes deeper as it not only comments on the social fabric—inter-communal marriage, the limits to how much parents should dominate their adult children, the helplessness of a young man (Sanju) who wants to do well for himself and his family but cannot, and how friendships can be affected or taken for granted in the madhouse that life can become.

The futility of working for money without enjoying its fruits, the killer competition coupled with easy disposability of human beings in key jobs, the tug of war between instincts and intellect and business and emotion, and finally the vital importance of our nears and dears are all spotlighted and tackled, minus melodrama or over-the-top happenings, in this crisp six-episode series that is gripping, heartwarming and very incisive yet supremely entertaining thanks to the script and the dialogues.

From the technical side, the production design stands out, and Indore has been filmed with a lot of love and passion, for it looks visually striking. The music (Tusshar Mallek) enhances the series, whose biggest trumps are the script (Tatsat Pandey & Bharat Misra), direction (Ruchir Arun) and the magnificent cast that brings it to life.

Vishal Vashishtha as the lead and Ajitesh Gupta as his too-selfless friend and helper Darshan are key candidates for Best Actor on OTT series this year, as is the entire series. Vishal gets every angle perfect, come his expressions, the nuances in his body language and voice, whether he is alone or with his friends, family and associates. Ajitesh Gupta is plain magnificent as the emotional buddy who finally protests against the kind of friend Vishal has become in his hurried-and-worried life.

Atul Srivastava and Vibha Chibber are perfectly relatable too, as small-town couple with their foibles, complexes and tradition, learning to change with the times with some effort. Anushka Kaushik, especially, and Saad Bilgrami as Shekhar’s siblings, are also perfectly cast and score very high, and their ‘reconciliation’ sequences with Shekhar are superbly conceived and executed. Gyanendra Tripathi as Manish Bhayya looks and behaves with an uncanny similarity to Aamir Khan!

As Riddhima, Akanksha Thakur is another plus point, though her role is not as long as a normal heroine’s. The actor who plays Shekhar’s new boss is also good.

For its homilies and messages that we must not succumb to being in the rat-race at the cost of losing our individuality, identity and happiness and at the expense of the bonds with family and friends that makes life truly content and complete, Ghar Waapsi takes its due place among the finest fare we have so far seen on the web.

Rating: ****

Disney+Hotstar presents Dice Media’s & Pocket Aces’ Ghar Waapsi  Produced by: Anirudh Pandita, Aditi Shrivastava & Ashwin Suresh  Directed by: Ruchir Arun  Written by: Tatsat Pandey & Bharat Misra  Music: Tusshar Mallek  Starring: Vishal Vashishtha, Anushka Kaushik, Saad Bilgrami, Atul Srivastava, Vibha Chhibber, Akanksha Thakur, Ajitesh Gupta, Kartik Soni, Suhani Popli, Divyaguarav Rana, S.K. Batra, Gyanendra Tripathi & others





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