Wakaalat From Home creator: Rohan Sippy
Wakaalat From Home cast: Sumeet Vyas, Kubbra Sait, Nidhi Singh, Gopal Dutt
Wakaalat From Home rating: Three stars
Most of us have juggled house help, spotty internet connections, loud family members, pets and other shenanigans, while being on an official zoom call. Wakaalat From Home, Amazon Prime latest breakthrough offering, has brought all the above-mentioned struggles to the fore and has left us chuckling wistfully at the new normal of a life in the coronavirus-induced lockdown. The bite-sized show, with ten 12-15 minute long episodes, provides the perfect relief, comic and otherwise, from the edgy, dark and layered offerings that have dominated the web space in the past few months.
As the name suggests, the show is a courtroom drama centred around Radhika (Nidhi Singh) and Sujin (Sumeet Vyas), a couple whose divorce proceedings occur over video conferencing due to the lockdown. They have been assigned an arbitrator Rajni (Kubbra Sait) who is also the legal counsel of Sujin. Lobo Tripathi (Gopal Datt) is the counsel for Radhika. There is a flat in Bandra which is the root of contention, and there is a mysterious Shilpi and Shrestha, people we only hear and feel, but never see.
We meet all four of them, their air conditioners, pets, books and plants, as the arbitration starts from their respective homes. The popular line from an ad film, “har ghar kuch kehta hai,” holds true here. We are taken into the heart and homes of these four people, and that’s where the fun begins. From slice-of-life dialogues and situations, the show hooks you in deep right from the first episode. It’s like watching a Cliffs Notes version of an epic ‘life in lockdown’. Be it the lawyer Rajni fending off her cat while she is busy providing evidence against Radhika, or Tripathi eating a giant bowl of prawns while he is listening to the proceedings or Sujin sitting in his baniyan, these are the things that are the new normal for most of us as we navigate a life where ‘work from home’ is a necessity. Over ten sessions, we are taken through the ups and downs of the married life of Radhika and Sujin, who’ve been married for nine years. Sujin is an actor who can’t resist flecking his hair the minute he sees his own image, while Radhika is a journalist for Desh TV, who believes that facts can have two sides, and an alternate variant.
But what lifts Wakaalat From Home into the must-watch category is the subtle digs at the sub-culture of WhatsApp forwards, the current political situation and trending people — Amit Shah, Kunal Kamra and Arnab Goswami making an appearance — and how life has changed courtesy the pandemic. Kudos to writer Anuvab Pal and creator Rohan Sippy, who have blended jokes about the number of ventilators that India has, to what defines an essential service and the thaali banging, and not once do these jokes and punch lines seem forced. Nothing and nobody is spared, Bollywood, of course, is a go-to refrain — Ranveer Singh, Neena Gupta, Chunky Pandey, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Ananya Pandey — are all punchlines for brilliant jokes. It never gets too heavy, and the laughs don’t stop. If you somehow by a miracle, or the fact that you were living under a rock, missed what all has happened in the last six months, Wakaalat from Home will do a thorough job of updating you.
The narrative gets a bit murky when the two lawyers decide to team up and swindle the clients, but it somehow works. There are some jokes which get a bit PG-13, so maybe don’t cue this up for a family weekend binge. Watch from the solitude of your room, or maybe just with your siblings.
Shot from the premises of the respective homes of the actors, with they themselves handling the camera work, it’s not too shoddy. With the majority of film studios having suspended work, shooting from one’s phone has emerged as a new necessity for many filmmakers and artistes. Concerts, recitals and theatre have all gone online, and we even saw C U Soon, a computer screen film which released on Amazon Prime Video. Wakaalat From Home proves that good stories will never be dependent on the medium alone. It’s quite refreshing to see actors look and feel relatable, with minimal makeup that they have applied themselves. Radhika’s home hair cut which resulted in her having a not so flattering fringe, and Sujin sporting a small ponytail are things that we have seen and experienced around us. Rajni looks impeccable as a lawyer — her black jacket paired with a collection of blouses — the style is bang on point. Sumeet Vyas and Nidhi Singh are in familiar territory, they are both darlings of the web space. The chemistry between the two is reminiscent of Permanent Roommates, with Vyas, at times, slipping into Mikesh mode.
A good story told with minimal fuss and a lot of heart, Wakaalat From Home is a must watch show from Amazon Prime Video.
Wakaalat From Home is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines