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Posted at: May 4, 2018, 5:38 PM; last updated: May 4, 2018, 5:50 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW: 102 NOT OUT

Quite a team, this one!

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Film: 102 Not Out

  • Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Jimit Trivedi
  • Director: Umesh Shukla
Quite a team, this one!
A still from 102 Not Out

Nonika Singh

For a while the film has been the talk of the town for a host of reasons. One, of course, is the screen reunion of film industry’s two gifted actors, Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor, after a gap of 27 years. Their prosthetics- enhanced looks has been another talking point thus whetting the appetite and rekindling the interest of cinegoers even further. 

Besides the trailer and the tagline—‘Baap super cool, beta old school’ promises a fun ride. 102 Not Out, quite like Umesh Shukla’s previous foray ‘Oh My God’ isn’t a laugh riot but a serious affair. Sure it has many amusing moments and few rib-tickling one-liners too go with the flow. But both the crux and the treatment of the film is sombre. 

At the heart is a thought-provoking issue of old-age and more pertinently how to cope with it. All of 102, father Dattatraya Vakharia (Amitabh Bachchan) leads it full on. The son Babulal Vakharia’s (Rishi Kapoor) spirits lie low, until daddy dearest decides to take things in his hand. What follows are riders that he imposes on the son. Some of the conditions that he asks sonny beta to fulfil, lead to some mirth, but mostly come laden with hidden meanings. Not that the film unveils earthshaking revelations. The narrative that deals with father-son relationship at two levels is about a societal concern, that most of us are aware of and many may have dealt with. 

In a way, the film borrows from family dramas of yore where an erring son who cares two hoots about his parents is the villain of the piece. Only 102 Not Out does not pan out in a similar outdated fashion. It’s in effect the marriage of  old school with cool ideas, if not super cool. Indeed, the issue at hand is familiar. But its solution is in sync with modern day world. Old must learn to live on their own sans emotional crutches… goes the all too obviously overt message. Undeniably, the directorial hand is more heavy than lighthearted. Adapted from a Gujarati play, it unfolds like a stage drama. Yet amidst the theatrical touch the lead actors make it worth your while.

Big B as Daddy cool leads the way and impresses with some wry humour. However, it’s Rishi Kapoor as the 75-year-old son who gets a better etched part and has scope to evolve. No wonder he flexes his acting muscles far more effectively. Bachchan in comparison touches you more as a concerned father and less as an exuberant Gujarati, high on life. Nevertheless, they rock as a team, endearing and emotive at the same time. Between these two stalwarts if you think no actor can hold his ground, well surprisingly, Jimit Trivedi as Dheeru, a seemingly dumb salesman too stands tall. As the outsider insider, he not only brings in balance but also is the reason for many a smile and laughter.  

Laughs, of course, are not the mainstay and certainly not the reason why you should opt for the film. But, if you are game to hear the story of two old men, which could well be the story of many a family, check it out. Clocking less than two hours despite the film’s ‘message is louder than fun’ tenor it doesn’t bore you. Yes, the tone is patronising and the thematic twists all too convenient but the emotional quotient remains very much intact.

nonikasingh@tribunemail.com

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