Slice of life

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 May 2018 09:39:33



By Aasawari Shenolikar,

Dattatreya Wakharia (Amitabh Bachchan) believes in living each moment of his life to the fullest and focusing on the positive. The lively soul is not bogged down by age. The jolly good 102 year old wants his name to be written in the annals of history as the world’s longest living individual and for that he still has 16 years to go. However he thinks that his son, Babu (Rishi Kapoor), 75 years of age, will be an impediment in breaking the record. For Babu is grumpy and is just the opposite of his father - cantankerous and sullen, he has his every second and minute planned. Dattatreya thinks the negativity that Babu emanates eliminates all the positivity that he surrounds himself with. The supercool dad decides to send his old school son to an old age home. But obviously, Babu, who finds it difficult to sleep if his curtains are changed, is aghast. He puts his foot down and when he is sure that his father will not relent, he pleads for a way out of the situation.

That moment, perhaps, is what Dattatreya is waiting for. He lays down a set of challenges for Babu. “Six months and five challenges - challenges that will be revealed one by one,” he tells Babu. Caught in a do or die situation, Babu agrees, albeit with a lot of reluctance. And that is how the journey of father son to an ultimate realisation begins. Umesh Shukla, the one who gave the heavenly OMG, with 102 Not Out, has once proved that he is a master of cinema that offers to the audience a slice of life. The layered narrative is simple and unique. It is reminiscent of the delightful emotional rides that Hrishikesh Mukherjee or Basu Chatterjee or a Sai Paranjape, not so long ago took us through with their middle of the road cinema.

The film is an eclectic mix of the commercial and the realistic, hallmark of the great filmmakers of the 80s. Everything about it - the characters, the dialogues, the locations, the moments, the sequences - the audience connect at many levels. The film engages you completely and you laugh with them, at them, cry for them, with them. There is a bit of Baghbaan in it, the last scene resonates - ‘Babu Moshai’ from Anand and you can’t help but smile through your tears. The first frame captures your attention - the sketches, depicting Mumbai in all its glory are astounding. The attention, then doesn’t waver. Barring a lull in the middle, when things kind of become a tad repetitive, the movie picks up to give us an emotionally rich finale that is applause worthy. It’s laden with messages, but it is all so subtle that it never takes on a preachy tone. With family friendly humour, this is a crossover film that each parent has been waiting for. And ultimately when you leave the theatre you leave it with a heart that is overwhelmed with emotions.

Shukla roped in gifted actors, but he wouldn’t have been able to deliver a knockout film if it wasn’t for the brilliant script. If Shukla has extracted great performances from talented actors, Saumya Joshi’s writing has helped him achieve this easily. Many well written sequences, acted brilliantly, leave an indelible mark. When Dattatreya reads out the letter written by Babu, the smile never leaves your lips; when he talks about why the parents, if they do not want their heart to shatter to a million pieces with every passing day, must only remember the childrens’ childhood, it leaves you numb and with a lump in the throat. You laugh when Dattatreya takes a dig at his morose son, trying to eke him out of his OCD zone, you sniffle when he talks about his wife afflicted with Alzheimer’s and her suffering. Scenes that you emotionally connect with, that tug at your heart, are replete in the film.

Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor - the duo who have been on screen together many a time, in different avatars - traversing the whole spectrum of relationships, come together after a long hiatus and create another landmark, in the process celebrating life even as they cement their credibility as brilliant actors. Their chemistry is rocking. As different as chalk and cheese, they set the screen on fire with their easy camaraderie - both become one with the character. You do not see Rishi Kapoor, but the crabby Babu - he is totally in sync with his character. And then Amitabh Bachchan - he floors you totally. It appears that Big B is only there to have fun on screen and that’s why you don’t see any forced attempts at any acting. It’s fun to watch him interact with the autorickshaw driver as it is amusing to hear him sing -Zindagi mere ghar aana - going totally off track while doing so. A natural, he creates another milestone in his diverse repertoire. Jimit Trivedi, as their sort of Man Friday, stands on his own amidst the towering talented duo.

The only hitch is that the movie gets over in 102 minutes. You wish there was more of the duo on the screen to regale us with their brilliance. Of course, some, as glum as Babu, might not see the sunshine and might point at certain implausibilities, but who the heck cares? 102 Not Out, as it ends, clearly defines that life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. And I can only leave you with ‘I hope you understand.’ (The importance of this you will comprehend only after you watch the film.)
102 Not Out - well played. Yo!!

The Hitavada Rating:

O O O 1/2