Home Review: Indrans, Manu Pillai and Sreenath Bhasi Starrer Is A Broken Gem

Here’s our review of the Malayalam film titled Home. It is written and directed by Rojin Thomas and stars Indrans, Manu Pillai and Sreenath Bhasi.

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Home Review: Indrans, Manu Pillai and Sreenath Bhasi Starrer Is A Broken Gem

There is so much that is  wrong and yet so much that is strong, in Home, writer-director Rojin Thomas’ heart-warming eccentric but deeply humane film about a family of fractured relationships and how it, the family, finally finds its centre. Nothing new here, thank God for that! It is the comfort of the familiar that makes this artless cannily connectible family saga, so winsome and appreciable. Home is baggily structured with loose ends sticking out of the final product like limbs out of the clumsily-tailored suit. But that, I soon realized, is the innate charm of this majestically askew family drama which is utterly devoid of an even pacing or any sense bearing.

Some portions trot along fine, while other chapters heave and groan to a staccato  momentum making the entire proceeding look unmapped, unplanned.  In the beginning we meet the protagonist Oliver Twist—yes that’s his name because we eventually, find out, his father used to peruse a lot of  English literature  during his heydays—is struggling with a sense of self, trying to find  some ways to  make himself feel useful to family and self after his video-library business turned defunct.

For actor Indrans, this is not uncharted territory.  Just a few weeks ago, I saw him playing a father pining for his son’s attention in  elukkakka Oppu  Kaa in a rigorously rural realm.  Here it’s the pitiless heartless city, and the addictive cell phone dividing father from son.

Sreenath Basi as Oliver’s elder son Anthony communicates the benign contempt  of an impatient son with  a wonderful economy of words and expressions. Indrans  and  Basi play against one another with intuitive suppleness. I wish  the  narrative  focused  on the father-son pair trying to repair their relationship instead of  running helter-skelter  introducing us to irrelevant  characters, like  Anthony’s  girlfriend’s uncle Justin, who just drops in to the plot  for no rhyme  or reason and makes  himself at home.

Writer-director Rojin Thomas seems eager to latch a  legion of  characters  on  Oliver Twist’s  life (by the way, he had a sister named Mary Poppins who passed away, we are told in passing). Some of the baggage is borne with grace by the unwieldy  plot. Others, like  a lengthy  languorous  completely pointless interlude  with  a psychologist  and a rather  bitter-sweet run in with a movie star(Dev Mohan) just doesn’t fit in. The biggest pace-breaker is when Oliver goes to the psychologist for insomnia. But the encounter is somnolent, and should be  edited  out of  an otherwise-remarkable film.

What works wonderfully are the scenes of domestic stress. Oliver trying to get his beloved son’s attention, his face  lighting up when the son looks at him…Oliver  offering unsolicited gyan to the son, taking  direct insults  from the boy…It’s  the price a parent pays for  caring  for his child.

At the climax, an extraordinary incident from Oliver’s adolescence returns to haunt the plot. It is an outrageous co-incidence, and one that would normally have reduced the impact and merit of the film drastically. But Home is very special film. It earns itself some major concessions from cinematic protocol. We forgive the sluggish loose-limbed pace because, well, life’s like that. It doesn’t follow any specific rhythm and movement. Most of the time we are nursing small splinters of our broken heart. Just like Oliver Twist, the original “Dil maange more” guy. Porridge or providence, we are always searching for something more than what destiny  doles out. Just like Oliver in Home.

The film is littered with believable performances, though I found Manju Pillai as Oliver Twist’s wife  a little too over the  top. What the Dickens!

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