Ghar Waapsi Review: A relatable, loveable show

Do you have siblings who moved to another city for college or a job? Do you miss her? Or have you gotten used to her absence? And when they come to visit for holidays or festivals, do you get annoyed that they interfere in your life and that your parents’ attention is on them? This is what makes the bond between siblings – bitter and sweet at the same time. They’re annoying when they’re around and missed when they’re gone.

Disney Plus Hotstar’s latest web series, Ghar Waapsi, took me back to when my brother moved away from home. Although initially it was good to have the whole room to myself, eventually the emptiness haunted me. And not just me, he too had his share of difficulties adjusting to a new city. Not forgetting the parents who missed him but never let their emotions out as they wanted him to thrive in his career.

The six-episode series gives us a family of five: a controlling but loving mother, a happy father, a son who returns to Indore after losing his job in Bangalore, his young brother who is reckless in business decisions, and their Chulbuli , carefree sister.

Shekhar Dwiwedi (Vishal Vashishtha) returns to his family in Indore after being released. The loose writing of the first two episodes makes it a bit boring to watch Shekhar try to find another job while finding it difficult to come to terms with his family and the peculiarities of each character of the Dwiwedi household. But eventually the writers, Tatsat Pandey and Bharat Misra, get a grip on the script.

Anushka Kaushik and Vishal Vashishtha in Ghar Waapsi.

As the episodes progress, the show becomes a tapestry of vignettes drawn from the experiences of writer-director Ruchir Arun. These vignettes are warm, funny, tender and touching. When Shekhar’s mom cooks his favorite meal and his younger siblings complain that she doesn’t cook their “manpasand khaana,” you smile because you, too, have at some point teased your parents for loving your siblings more. When Shekhar’s friends complain that he’s busy with his work and doesn’t even have time to call or text, you tell them that you, too, are guilty of avoiding your friends at some point in your life.

In the series, actor Atul Srivastava plays a sensitive and understated father who would be out of place in traditional Bollywood drama. He has no hard feelings about Shekhar moving away from home as he wants him to fulfill his dreams. He does not give him credit for helping revitalize his travel agency, believing that will hold him back at home. When his younger son Sanju tells him about his ambitions, the exchange is endearing. When he tells his daughter to just ignore her mother, who scolds her for dating a boy, you realize that parents and kids don’t have to be opposing teams anymore.

ghar waapsi Atul Srivastava and Vishal Vashishtha in a still image by Ghar Waapsi.

Not just Srivastava, every actor gave a convincing performance. Vishal Vashishtha as Shekhar captures the frustration of a corporate worker while also being a perfect bada bhai. Saad Bilgram and Anushka Kaushik get the tone of younger siblings right. Vibha Chibber will remind you of your mother. Ajitesh Gupta, as Shekhar’s best friend, is so warm and loving that one wishes one could have a friend like him. Writers Tatsat and Bharat and director Ruchir designed the characters to develop without attracting attention. In Dwiwedis we get a family that never says “I love you” to each other – like most Indian families – but you can feel their deep bond.

When I saw the Ghar Waapsi trailer, the show seemed similar to Gullak and Yeh Meri Family playing on the sweet 90’s nostalgia. But what sets Ghar Wapsi apart from others is his ability to relate in modern times. It’s a show that will bring you home or make you want to take a break from your boring work schedule and sit down with your parents and siblings for a bit of gupshup or maybe a game of ludo.

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