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Beyond “What Does A Housewife Do?”: Redefining Worth In ‘Sukhee’

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Delhi North chapter.

I can’t be the only one who has wondered about the extent of life experiences our mothers might have sacrificed to build a ‘family’. 

The movie Sukhee (available on Netflix) looks at the unspoken and unappreciated life of a mother who has completely forgotten her past and turned into a person she couldn’t recognize. This moving story of a woman named Sukhee embodies the multifaceted roles of being a mother, wife, and daughter-in-law, showcasing the various challenges inherent in balancing individual aspirations with societal expectations. It takes the universal experience of motherhood and shines a light on the personal cost, the forgotten dreams, and the struggles to retain one’s identity amidst the demands of “family’’.   

The plot of the film surrounds a school reunion where the protagonist’s friends plan to unite. What is striking is that her role as a housewife seems to be in compromise with her household duties, the reluctance to convey her wishes to her partner is seen as an ardent task. The crisis hits when her daughter humiliates her by asking her to be a better mother and not a ‘cool’ one. Her memories do not find a place in her present, further demeaning her individuality. While the movie beautifully captures the multifaceted role Sukhee embodies, the contrast with her father-in-law adds a compelling layer to the narrative. He becomes a beacon of support and understanding, subverting the traditional portrayal of inlaws as antagonists. 

A social commentary on the unrecognized labor of a homemaker also finds a place in the film with the patriarchal shadow covering her husband’s mind when he humiliates her in front of their neighbors. The ordeal of a housewife is symbolized by the dialogue “What does a housewife do all day?” By showcasing the humiliation she faces from her daughter and husband, the film confronts the often-ignored reality of how these expectations can manifest within the very space meant to offer solace and belonging. But this movie is no damsel-in-distress narrative but of a woman choosing to be herself without abandoning her family life.  

The guilt of losing her youth and self-respect finally shows up when Sukhee confides in her school friend. The conflict between “What she was” and “what she has become” had somehow exhausted her to the core. Another encounter that baffles me is when Sukhee introduces herself as a ‘homemaker’ to her other schoolmates. This moment serves as a poignant commentary on society’s failure to recognize the immense value and hard work embedded in the role of homemaking. The tag of a ‘full-time job’ seems missing from their minds when it comes to being a homemaker. The question of why a homemaker’s role as an essential job is undervalued, looms. This juxtaposition of support and struggle makes the narrative all the more powerful, reflecting the complex landscape of homemakers beyond the romanticized ideal. 

Sukhee ultimately serves as a powerful call to action, urging women to assert themselves, embrace imperfections, and redefine societal expectations. While the plotline may seem familiar in its female-centric approach, it serves as a reminder that every woman has the agency to carve her path and make her life count. The movie invites the audience to reflect on the importance of acknowledging and appreciating the role played by women, both within and beyond the confines of their homes. In doing so, ‘Sukhee’ becomes a compelling narrative that resonates with the universal struggles and triumphs of women, encouraging a collective revaluation of societal norms. 

Anoushka Purohit

Delhi North '25

Anoushka Purohit is a Chapter Member at the Her Campus North Delhi Chapter and a part of the Editorial team. Her writing interests range from politics, society, to talking about individuality and asking questions about life in general. Beyond Her Campus, she is a second year Political Science student of Indraprastha College For Women. She contributed as editor and interviewer for an online community page called Humans of Bhubaneswar and also worked as the head of social media for a climate awareness organisation called Fridays For Future, Odisha. Her reading interests can be identified by the number of classics she hoards as well the unique literature which finds space in her bookshelf. Her leisure time is purely dedicated to reading, dancing and attending music concerts. Apart from that, she considers herself to be a die hard rock fan and a metalhead.