Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Jimit Trivedi
Direction: Umesh Shukla
Ever thought about how far ahead you can go in life if you just let go of some attachments? Umesh Shukla’s latest venture, “102 Not Out” gives you a taste of exactly that.
With two oldies living in the bustling city of Mumbai, one of them would remind you of the cranky and grumpy grandpas you see on your way to the park, who appear to detest everything the youth do. The other however, is a talkative and full-of-life grandpa who is ready to take all challenges thrown at him by life happily. While the former is a 75-year-old retired Mathamatics teacher, the latter is his 102-year-old father, who is mentally aged 26.
The story starts off with Dattatraya Vakharia (Amitabh Bachchan) trying to send his son Babulaal Dattatraya Vakharia (Rishi Kapoor) to an old age home. Why you ask? Well, because the jolly Dattatraya is determined to break the record of the oldest man on earth who has lived for 118 years. “Only 16 years to go. Yo!” says Dattatraya. And to live for another 16 years, as per his research, he needs to be away from negative and boring people, ie his son! According to Dattatrerya, Babulaal is afraid of both living and dying, so he attempts to teach his son how to enjoy life.
While Babulaal has accepted his age, his father hasn’t, which eventually leads to daily tiffs between the father-son duo. When Babulaal does not want to leave home for an old age shelter, his father gives him a condition: he has to fulfill all the dares that will be given to him in the course of six months. And thus begins a sweet journey of the two.
Rishi Kapoor’s smooth performance might remind you of the character Ove from Friedrick Backman’s “A Man Called Ove”, the ever annoyed old man who just wasnts to be left alone. Jimit Trivedi’s portrayal of Dheeru a simple Gujarati errand boy is like the sidekick to Bachchan’s Dattatraya, but he shines on his own mettle against the veteran actors. Big B is the soul of the film, with the ever smilling white bearded face, and gummy teeth calling out “Eh Baabu” and often finishing his sentences with “Yo!” he will instantly bring a smile on your face.
The chemistry among the three characters in the film is well woven, and might as well get your eyes welled up at some moments. The special bond of human relationships, the closeness or the distance between a son and his father is what holds ground here with some very powerfull dialogues.
“Aulad nalayak ho to usse bhul jana chahiye. Sirf uska bachpan yaad rakhna chahiye.” (A worthless son should be forgotten, only their childhood should be etched in the memory)
On the contrary, Dattatraya’s witty take on the concept of death, “Main to marne k sakht khilaaf hu. Main ek bar bhi mara nei. Jab tak zinda hai marna nei,” (I am strictly against dying. I have never died even once. One should never die while they are living) as an advice to his son will melt your heart.
Umesh Shukla’s direction seems to lose control over the entirity of the film, as it is certain sequences which seem to be well directed and thought out. But on the whole, the director’s job isn’t very appealing, if compared to his 2012 hit film Oh My God!
102 Not Out could have been a slice of life film, but it’s stuck at being sweet and mushy.
The music and songs fit in well with the story, and Mumbai comes to life in a different way – not as the city witnessing a party animal’s night life, but as a city that witnesses lovable bonds closer to the heart. The use of minimal animation is put to good use by editor Bodhaditya Banerjee during change of sequence. Production designer Mansi Dhruv should also be lauded for making the set feel like a Gujarati home.
There are moments of fun, laughter, sorrow, and tension, all packed justly to create a feel-good family drama you can watch with your family, parents, friends or kids. Even though there are some layers of monotone in between, and a tinge of predictability, the overall presentation is fresh and lovable. The film is a tribute to all the ‘zinda dils’ (lively souls) out there.