102 Not Out movie review

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Jimit Trivedi
Direction: Umesh Shukla
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Duration: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Language: Hindi (U)
102-year-old Dattatraya Vakharia (Amitabh) and 75-year-old Babulal Vakharia (Rishi) are father and son, who live under the same roof. Both have different set of ideologies; however, their love for each other shines through.
Adapted from a Gujarati stage play of the same name, Umesh Shukla’s 102 Not Out — written by Saumya Joshi — seems like ‘staged’ cinema. It has the theatre feel written all over it, with the fade in, fade out process imaginatively ‘broken’ by RK Laxman‘ish’ cartoons. However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this film is enjoyable. And, mercifully, with the exception of Dhiru (Jimit) in a few scenes, both Amitabh and Rishi, are pitch-perfect.
This is a small, sweet film with its heart in the right place. The plot is over-simplified. The message is clear — the earlier generation still made a place for their elders, the millennials don’t.
But does that mean the older people stop living? On the contrary, centenarian Dattatraya’s spirit is infectious — he has an eye for all things beautiful. His son Babu is a bit of a grouch with an OCD issue, but eventually, even he grows on you. There’s a point when you long for a grandpa like Babu just to indulge you and perhaps even a great-granddad like Datta, to enrich your mundane existence. Yo! Dial 102…
Speaking of which, life in Shanti Niwas, where Babu and Datta live with their man Friday (Jimit) is fun. Datta and Babu’s opposing natures make way for little moments of friction but more importantly, it teaches you to LIVE.
That having been said, the main reason to watch this film is the fact that it brings together two of Indian cinema’s finest talents — Amitabh and Rishi — after a gap of 27 years.
Really, what does one say about these stalwarts? The Hindi phrase, ‘Haath kangan ko aarsi kya?’ (one doesn’t need a mirror to see the beauty of the bracelet) fits in. These are legendary actors who haven’t allowed their craft to be corrupted.
Amitabh continues his mastery over his grey-haired roles (Piku, Pink) and now this one. Rishi gives his Babu so many shades. His stiff-upper-lip, his stubbornness, his snappy disposition — everything makes him real. And, when he breaks into a smile, you’re tempted to extend your hand and give him a bear hug.
The only place where Amitabh and Rishi falter is with their Gujarati accent. It comes and goes in spurts, as if it is an after-thought. But all this amounts to clear nit-picking. What stays with you, when the credits roll, are the sentiments.
Verdict: If you love your elders, take them to watch this film. The tears of their appreciation will warm your heart.
Critic’s Rating: 3.5/5

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