Sonal Joshi’s 2023 drama film, Sukhee, starring Shilpa Shetty as the protagonist, attempts to tell the story of a frustrated housewife. The need to always find a resolution results in a cliche script with only the obvious unfolding on screen. Sukhee always imagined her life to be a grand celebration, and she had lived her life to the fullest, but that was until she got married. The most fun girl in college had to transform into a ‘sanskari bahu.’ All these years, she has been taking care of the household and catering to the needs of her husband and daughter. Even though theirs was a love marriage, Guru barely paid any attention to Sukhee anymore. Their daughter, Jassi, was ungrateful for the sacrifices she made, and she did not care to know her mother better. Sukhee desperately needed a break from her life, and when the school reunion was announced, she knew she wanted to attend the event. The only person who cared about Sukhee’s happiness was Guru’s grandfather, and he encouraged her to live her life for once. But she ultimately decided against traveling to New Delhi, realizing that Guru and Jassi would find it impossible to do all the chores if she left.
What convinced Sukhee to attend the reunion?
The sudden demise of Guru’s grandfather affected Sukhee. He was the only person who cared to listen to her and valued her. As Sukhee tried to cope with the loss, one morning, a postman delivered a letter. It turns out that before his death, Dadaji bought a ticket to New Delhi to encourage Sukhee to live her life. When Sukhee discussed attending the reunion with Guru, he refused to allow her to leave. His behavior and lack of respect for her triggered Sukhee to leave. She packed her bags and got on the train, leaving behind a message for Guru and Jassi. After arriving in New Delhi, she received a call from Guru, but he did not care to ask about her whereabouts; instead, he expressed his frustration with having to do all the household chores by himself. Sukhee disconnected the call; she planned to stay in Delhi for the weekend, and she was not ready to listen to Guru complain during that time. She reunited with her high school best friends after twenty years. She felt a little awkward about herself when she met Meher Chhibber. Meher was still living her independent life and driving around Delhi in her jeep. While Meher lamented about not finding true love, Sukhee believed her life was far better than being a regular homemaker like her, who is mostly disrespected by her family. She somehow convinced herself that Mansi and Tanvi’s lives were also quite perfect and that it was only she who was suffering.
Sukhee was reminded of the happier times when she and Guru used to be lovers. She had the best time of her life with him, but things changed after they got married. After the death of Guru’s parents, he shifted back to Punjab. Sukhee could not bear living without him, and she proposed they get married. Sukhee got married without the consent of her parents, and when she broke the news to them, they chose to cut all ties with her. Sukhee wanted to meet her parents now that she was in Delhi, but she did not have the courage to do so.
What did Sukhee find out after meeting her friends?
Sukhee’s popularity had not faded over time, and everyone assumed that she must have achieved great success in her career path. Sukhee did not mind admitting that she was a homemaker, but deep down, she too wondered if she wasted her life not chasing the dreams she once had. At the party, Sukhee met Vikram Verma. He was one of the least popular kids in class, and to everyone’s surprise, he grew up to become a handsome man. Vikram was still attracted to Sukhee and asked her out on a date, but she was not ready to see another man yet. While the weekend passed away in the blink of an eye for Sukhee, it was not the same for Guru and Jassi. They were furious that Sukhee was not around to take care of things like she always did. When Sukhee called Guru to discuss how she wanted to stay back to meet her parents, he spoke in a disrespectful tone. He wanted Sukhee to return to do all the household chores and not because he missed her and valued her presence. This made Sukhee all the more determined to stay back in Delhi and reconnect with her parents. Sukhee reached her parents’ house but did not find the courage to ring the doorbell. She watched them through the window and realized that maybe she had made the wrong decision by leaving everything behind for Guru’s sake.
When Sukhee received a message from Jassi stating how she hated her, she decided to head back home. Her friends tried to stop her, but she was not ready to allow her relationship with her daughter to turn bitter. Since she was the only mother in the group, she believed no one would understand her difficulty. Meher decided to break Sukhee’s bubble and admit to her all the problems they were facing. Meher was pregnant, and she was planning on becoming a single mother. Mansi’s life, too, was quite the grind; for the last four years, she had not been promoted even after working insane hours, because her boss did not believe she deserved any better. Tanvi’s mother-in-law always made it a point to express her disappointment in her because she could not conceive after eight years of marriage. She was made to hate her body, and it had impacted her quite gravely. But Sukhee was so consumed by her troubles that she did not realize that her friends were not living an easy life. All they wanted from Sukhee was to take a stand and not become a doormat. They knew what she was capable of, and it pained them to watch her fade away over time. Sukhee ultimately decided to stay back, and she finally found the courage to meet her parents.
Did Sukhee return home in the end?
Eventually, Guru and Jessi understood the importance of Sukhee in their lives. Guru realized how he had failed to be the loving husband that he promised to become. He was so focused on making his business a success that he forgot to take care of his partner. He never valued the unpaid labor that Sukhee had to put in for the sake of her family, and when she was gone, he realized how deeply he missed her. While he had appointed a househelp and had neighbors offering him cooked meals, everything seemed incomplete without Sukhee. Meanwhile, Jessi, too, realized that she had been too unkind to her mother. She never counted her blessing to have a loving mother who did everything she asked for. Instead of feeling happy to have someone cheering for her in the crowd, Jessi felt embarrassed when her mother celebrated her win. But at the end of the film, all Jessi wanted was to have her mother back, and this time, she promised to treat her with respect. She realized that Sukhee was more than just her mother, and she had no right to be upset just because she decided to enjoy a few days on her own. During the debate speech that was telecasted live, Jessi spoke only about her mother, and even though it was off-topic, the crowd loved her speech. Sukhee was watching the show as well, and she was glad that her daughter finally learned to value her. Sukhee’s absence also helped Guru bond with Jessi, something that he never cared to do when she was around.
During her time in Delhi, Sukhee took up riding lessons. She had always enjoyed horseback riding, but she lost touch after her marriage. Vikram decided to appoint Sukhee as the jockey for his horse, Badal. Even though it was quite a challenge, she decided to participate. Sukhee came second-last in the race, but the thrill she experienced was unforgettable. In the end, Vikram finally convinces Sukhee to go on a date with him. He proposed to her, but she made it clear that she would like them to remain friends. That night, when Sukhee returned home, she found Guru waiting for her. He admitted that he made a terrible mistake by undermining her. He confessed that his life was incomplete without her, and all he wanted was for her to return home. But Sukhee decided she needed more time to make up her mind because, this time, she did not wish to take any decision in haste. Guru respected her decision, and a few days later, he gifted Sukhee the same motorcycle model that she once had. Guru was apologetic for not valuing her over the years, and the bike was a token to fulfill all the dreams that they once had.
Sukhee ends with Guru and Jessi finally reuniting with Sukhee. She returned home riding the bike Guru had gifted. Her return suggests that she was ready for a fresh start, and this time, we can expect Guru and Jessi to be more mindful of Sukhee’s needs. Sukhee, too, had learned to prioritize herself, and maybe she will become more assertive as a homemaker.