On a weekend with two big Bollywood releases I chose to watch the dark and gritty “Omerta” (click here to read the review) before the slightly cheesy looking “102 Not Out”. That was definitely a mistake! Umesh Shukla’s film “102 Not Out” is wholesome family entertainment with plenty of heart, and fares much better than its hard-hitting counterpart.
Amitabh Bachchan plays a surprisingly sprightly 102 year old whose only aim in life is to improve the spirits of his stuffy, slightly OCD, and supremely grumpy 75 year old son, played by Rishi Kapoor. To achieve this, he threatens to deposit his son in an old-age home unless he completes certain challenges set by his father. Jimit Trivedi is a helper/ caretaker that serves as an observer of events. The drama in the plot is through the background presence of an errant son/ grandson whose been neglecting his family for years.
With the formidable acting team of Bachchan and Kapoor, there is little scope for error. Trivedi holds his own admirably and makes a significant mark in the film. There is palpable chemistry amongst the three main players, which keeps the audience engaged.
Bacchan and Kapoor in a still from the film. Picture courtesy: http://www.dnaindia.com
Perhaps the weakest link is the incongruous storyline. It’s rare to find a 102 year old so nimble of foot and sharp of mind. I found the entire situation hard to believe. The denouncement of the younger generation for neglecting its elders is over-dramatised and excessively preachy. However, as I’ve observed in my practice in court as a lawyer, such people and situations do exist and are quite common. Its admirable then that Shukla went on a preachy path yet maintained the lighthearted essence of the film by focusing on a healthy father-son relationship.
The short length of the film is a huge asset, and I’m glad Shukla didn’t give in to regular Bollywood standards of time. The music is pleasant and perfectly suited for the atmosphere. A couple of lovely old Bollywood tunes also have prominence. Mumbai, or at least the older parts of it located in South Bombay, are depicted beautifully as is the inherent “gujju-ness” of the main characters. The story elicits both laughs and tears, and one fellow member of the audience even clapped at the end!
Despite its slightly preachy tone and not quite believable story, it leaves the viewer satisfied and happy. I’d recommend it to all Bollywood lovers, or anyone looking to uplift their mood!
Film rating: 3.5/5
*Poster courtesy: http://www.spotboyE.com