This one is a bolt from the blue, a gem which comes towards the end of the year. CLUB 60 is a beautiful story that connects with you, me and everyone else. Whether you are 20 or 80, this one will definitely move you.
Director Sanjay Tripathi gets into the business end even as the credits are unfolding on screen. By the time the title track is done, the soul of the movie is laid bare. Then comes his master move as he introduces a few more layers to finally peel them off, one by one, until the final one. This final layer, when peeled off, reveals another human aspect of dealing with a tragic loss.
CLUB 60 is about Letting Go after spending the required time in grieving for the loss of a loved one. But what is the required time-frame to grieve? And is it right to always stay in a grieving position? What about the people around you, who are also hurting because of your grieving? And does grieving endlessly really help the one who is gone away?
Club 60 is also about embracing life, post 60.
Dr Tarique (Farooque Sheikh) and Dr Sayra (Sarika) are a couple living in Pune who have lost their 20-year-old son to a mindless act of terror in Denver, USA. Shattered, they sell off their clinic they had set up over many years and move to Mumbai in order to forget their grief. But the house they come into is the very one they had bought for their son. So the memories don't really leave them.
Dr Tarique is the one who is the most affected; he even tries to end his life. All this while, his wife, Sarika, battles to save him whilst silently burying her grief, unknown to him.
It is during this time that Mannu bhai (Raghuvir Yadav) storms into their life, literally. A chatter box who has a strange sense of humour, Mannu forcefully befriends the couple staying in the same building and gives them a brochure and a membership form to join Club 60. In the meanwhile, he forces Dr Tarique to join him every morning to play tennis at Club 60 where he introduces him to his friends, Dhillon (Sharat Saxena), Jaffar Bhai (Tinnu Anand), Mansukhani (Satish Kaushik) and Sinha (Vineet Kumar).
Dr Tarique is reluctant at first, but soon joins in. But there comes a time when he lets Mannu have it, when he drops in to their house to borrow ice. It is their son's birthday and they are down and out. Mannu's antics get to Dr Tarique and he bulldozes him with a verbal volley.
Farooque wants to be left alone to grieve. Mannu soon returns with a cake and Mansukhani to celebrate their late son's birthday, inspite of being insulted a while earlier.
In between all this, Mannu helps keep his friends together, most of whom are battling some tragedy or the other. In Mannu they see an outlet to forget their sorrow and even though his jokes at times get crass, they bear with his antics.
Farooque Sheikh and Sarika as the couple who have lost their son are terrific. Both display their angst in differing measures. While Farooque is down and out, Sarika has more control. She essays her role beautifully as you heart reaches out to this suffering couple.
But it is Raghuvir Yadav who is the star of the show. Right from 'take one' he maintains his chatterbox image without even for a moment dipping in enthusiasm. A terrific performance worthy of applause; one of the best in this year.
What really pulls the film down a bit is the length. It is over 20 minutes too long. The track with Sharath Saxena in a pub and in a hotel room is unnecessary. It takes away the sheen because already Tripathi has defined Saxena's character. The song at the wedding anniversary of a friend too is unnecessary. Ditto the track with Harsh Chhaya who plays the role of a psychiatrist. It wasn't needed because Tripathi had already mentioned this aspect in his opening sequence.
Nevertheless, it is a film that helps you connect with your inner self and will allow you to look at people with a little more compassion. You never know what the other is going through, even though he or she may be calm on the surface.
Please mark viewing CLUB 60 on your 'to do list' this week.