An inspiring realism beautifully and emotionally wrapped in feel good escapism that enlarges our conception of the true meaning of life. 102 NOT OUT is that rare coming of age adage starring the icon for the icons Amitabh Bachchan and the first teenage poster boy of Bollywood Rishi Kapoor playing a 102 and 75 year old father and son respectively celebrating the magic of life in this emotionally charged feel good messenger on screen.
Helmed by OH MY GOD fame Umesh Shukla and again the actor, writer and director is seen adapting a Gujarati play. This time it’s Saumya Joshi’s play by the same name. The popular sayings like ‘age is just a mind over matter’, ‘growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional’, is weaved with the rich tapestry of threads inspired from Basu Chatterjee, Hrishikesh Mukherjee of the golden era to the Abhijat Joshi and Juhi Chaturvedi’s of today, 102 NOT OUT is a sweet enough reason to love, live and cherish your life.
Vishal Patil pens the screenplay of Saumya Joshi’s story and begins with a voice over from the talented Vijay Raaz. It’s the Parle suburbs in Mumbai and we are introduced to the 75 year old Babulal Vakharia (Rishi Kapoor). Babulal has lost the charm in his life and leads a ‘calculated zindagi’. His meeting with his physician is a daily routine to check his pressure, diabetes and other commonly known age related hazards that force you to apply breaks and keep a control.
Babulal referred as ‘babu’ by his 102 year old father Dattatraya Vakharia (Amitabh Bachchan) is a completely opposite personality. He has flashy looks, keeps a long hair and posses a heart that beats the beat of the young swinging 20 something’s. For Dattaraya, age is just a number and in his unbeatable 102 year old exuberance, Dattaraya one day decides to break the record of living more than 118 years held by a Chinese super centenarian. He brings the cut out of the Chinese in his home, the cut out of the Chinese in red floral suit holding a rose in his hand with a smile on his face, becomes the driving force in the life of the Vakharia’s.
Widowers with the only company of the popular Gujarati actor Jimit Trivedi, who plays a worker in a local medicine shop, Dattaraya decides to send his boring son to an old age home so that he can concentrate and work on his record. Unwilling to go to an old age home while his 102 year old father enjoys the comforts of life, the 75 year old son ‘babu’ who has accepted his age already, decides to accept the terms and conditions of his father Dattaraya in order to stay in his home and enjoy the comforts instead of going to an old age home.
As the boring ‘babu’ starts taking the challenges thrown by his free willing, free spirited and funny father, the 75 year old son starts learning lessons of life and a feeling to live and love life dobaara (once again) is developed in this heartwarming, funny and motivating coming of age journey.
The writers Vishal Patil and Saumya Joshi marvelously twine the real emotions in this escapist piece. Filled with relatable and magical moments, the target/family audience will find their grandparents, parents, or even themselves in 102 NOT OUT. The movie which has characters not more than the number of fingers in your right hand including the Chinese cut out makes a sweepingly emotional statement that connects beyond generations.
In the current age of smart gadgets and slick wheels, we don’t even have the time to even speak to our family members and here the director Umesh Shukla takes us back to those unforgettable childhood nostalgia in that gem of a scene that makes you smile, bring a lump in your throat and massage your soul.
Movies are tremendous vehicle for escapisms and when an escapist cinema drives you towards a path of ‘realization’ infuses or reechoes the meaning of humanity love and life, the filmmaker achieves his dream, Umesh Shukla’s 102 NOT OUT does this.
There is no story without a drama and there is no Bollywood without a melodrama, 102 NOT OUT does all the known manipulations and tempts the audience to those syrupy feel good temptations but with powerfully driven emotion that melts your heart.
Arguably the best on father son bonding to come in recent times, 102 NOT OUT is a treat for cinegoers to watch the two legends back in action after 27 years. Both have entertained and enthralled the audience since 1977, starting with AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY, NASEEB (1981), COOLIE (1983) and AJOOBA. In KABHIE KABHIE (1976) they hardly shared the screen. Undoubtedly 102 NOT OUT is their best banter on screen. Emotionally charged, humourous, powerful and magical, the camaraderie between Mr. Bachchan and Kapoor is something that will be remembered in Bollywood. During the climax, we see a heart whelming dance between the father and son amidst the Mumbai downpour, the image stays and stays for long only to haunt back with an echo.
Umesh Shukla has given both Mr. Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor equal footage. If Mr. Bachchan is the soul of 102 NOT OUT, Rishi Kapoor is the body.
Mr. Bachchan as Dattatraya Vakharia in 102 NOT OUT is another reason why he is the undisputed and undefeated champion. PAA, BLACK, CHEENI KUM, as the lawyer in PINK, the icon for the icons gives a performance to remember, when it comes to play something beyond and ‘old’ the megastar Mr. Bachchan is unbeatable, his enthusiasm, vigour, and impeccable dialogue delivery always provides materials to aspiring actors. Mr. Bachchan’s ease to get into the character is incredible and the role required some colourful flamboyance and the megastar of the millennium does it with tremendous control and not let the character turn loud. An act of outstanding brilliance.
Rishi Kapoor – Bollywood first teenage poster boy (BOBBY) comes with age (read transforms incredibly). Rishi kapoor has always been labeled as the sweet, charming lover boy during the golden era. In the last 8 – 10 years Rishi Kapoor has continuously given stellar performance be it DO DOONI CHAAR, KAPOOR &SONS, D-DAY, AGNEEPATH, CHINTU JI, Rishi Kapoor has enthralled us. His role as Mangal in the 1986 film EK CHADAR MAILI SI is something not known by late comers but for me it was his strongest performance at that time. Those who believed that Rauf Lala in AGNEEPATH, the grandfather Kapoor in KAPOOR & SONS was exceptional. Rishi Kapoor as ‘babu’ in 102 NOT OUT is arguably his best in recent times.
Popular Gujarati actor Jimit Trivedi (GUJUBHAI THE GREAT) gets his moments and he is amusing. The spectator, a kind of a simile of the audience, Jimit experiences the journey of the 102 year old father and his 75 year old son and has the unique ability to play to the gallery.
Technically a polish product, the movie looks good, thanks to Laxman Utekar’s cinematography. Salim-Sulaiman’s music is functional. ‘Bachche Ki Jaan’ and ‘Kulfi’ go well with the flow. George Joseph’s background score keeps the momentum. Bodhaditya Banerjee’s editing is sharp, Mansi Dhruv Mehta’s production design is beautiful. Finally, Preetisheel Singh’s make up, hair and prosthetics are fantastic. From the supporting cast Dharmendra Gohil is fine.
As life is not pitch perfect, 102 NOT OUT has its shares of flaws, by look and feel, the adaptation of the popular Gujarati play appears ‘staged’ it whispers ‘theatre’ at times. The Gujarati accent isn,t perfect, its uneven, the characters residing in Mumbai might be the idea but still.. The absence of women in this piece of art is surprising. A photograph is the only thing we recollect. The life partners of the father and son in this unique adage of life could have been brought ‘alive’ in memories at least.
All said and done, 102 NOT OUT is an overwhelmingly powerful, extraordinarily touching and magically beautiful celebration of life, that urges you to love your life, cherish and share its sweetness as you get mesmerized by the hauntingly intoxicating performance by the two stalwarts – Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor in this feel good gem.
Say Yo To Life!!