Sonal Joshi’s directorial debut, Sukhee, serves as an effective vehicle for Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s return to the big screen in a leading role, with some reflection on a middle-aged woman’s journey of rediscovering herself.
Shilpa plays Sukhpreet, aka Sukhee, who, two decades into her marriage, feels trapped in a her small-town life juggling a grumpy husband (Chaitannya Choudhry), a disgruntled teenage daughter (Maahi Jain) and an ailing grandfather-in-law (Vinod Nagpal).
This monotonous existence gets a fillip when news of an upcoming high school reunion starts doing the rounds. The news is accompanied by a video of a young Sukhpreet and her friends from back in the days, declaring their intention to remain ‘always wild, never mild’ and embrace the motto of ‘Bedhadak, Besharam, Beparwah’.
Contrary to the vow taken by the gang of girls to never succumb to domestication, Sukhee finds herself stretching herself thin packing tiffin for her hubby, caring for her grandfather-in-law and assisting her daughter on school projects.
Though her husband is against the idea, Sukhee heads to Delhi where she reconnects with her old gang — Meher (Kusha Kapila), Mansi (Dilnaz Irani) and Tanvi (Pavleen Gujral). The three girls are well-settled in their lives. Mansi has married into a royal family with roots in Rajasthan. Tanvi works at a multinational company and is based in London. Meher runs a business in Delhi. Watching them, Sukhee is filled with a deep regret for how her own life has panned out compared to her ‘achiever’ friends.
The school reunion involves plenty of drinking, munching on street food and laughter, including a hilarious scene in a public toilet. And when Sukhee decides to stay in Delhi for a few days more, to enjoy her break from domestic life, it pushes her marriage to the brink.
Enter Vikram (Amit Sadh), a nerd-turned-entrepreneur and Sukhee’s silent admirer from school. Still in love with Sukhee, he is disappointed to see her being the complete opposite of what she was in school. Wanting to help her regain her self-confidence, Vikram encourages Sukhee to pursue her passion for horse riding. The subplot on their budding romance winds up when Sukhee admits she loves her husband and wouldn’t leave him.
Written by Radhika Anand, Paulomi Dutta and Rupinder Inderjit, the movie has shades of the 2022 Bengali film, Abar Bochhor Koori Pore, where a homemaker (played by Tanusree Chakraborty) breaks free from her domesticated life to reunite with her friends.
Here, the spotlight firmly remains on Shilpa, whose masterful portrayal of Sukhee is reminiscent of her homemaker character in Anurag Basu’s Life in a… Metro. Whether it’s the uproarious comic scenes where she laughs heartily or the emotionally charged moments, Shilpa is able to strike a fine balance.
The rest of the girl gang — though played by very competent actresses — are just there as Sukhee’s cheerleaders, with their individual stories left largely unexplored. Chaitannya Choudhry as Sukhee’s husband and Maahi Jain as her daughter deliver convincing performances. Sukhee’s interactions with her bedridden grandfather-in-law, also named Sukhee, provide some of the most heartwarming moments in the film.