Most Hindi cine lovers wait for a Rajshri film and that too if it is a Sooraj Barjatya film, nothing like it. We have been waiting with bated breath since the release of ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ for the next Barjatya film. Announced in October 2021 Uunchai is Sooraj Barjatya’s latest directorial with a completely ‘senior’ cast. I guess, this could very well be one of the most envious casts with just Parineeti Chopra from amongst the younger generation.
Uunchai is positioned as a film around friendship and that made one think if it is yet another remake of their own ‘Dosti’ (1964) but that is not the case. Uunchai is a film about the thick friendship and bond of four friends played by Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani, Anupam Kher and Danny Denzongpa.
The story of Uunchai begins with a celebration; it is Bhupen’s (Danny) birthday and Amit Shrivastav (Amitabh Bachchan), Om Sharma (Anupam Kher) and Javed Siddiqui (Boman Irani) wish their friend and enjoy the day to their fullest with celebratory song and dance. The next morning, Amit gets a phone call from Bhupen’s place, it turns out that he had a cardiac arrest and is no more. The three friends happen to be Bhupen’s only family who do the last rites and now, are in a sombre mood. Amit soon discovers an envelope in one of his books, with four tickets, for a trek to the (Mount Everest) Base Camp. Apparently, Bhupen had been asking his friends for this trek for a long time and now he is no more. Amit decides to do the unthinkable. Instead of immersing Bhupen’s ashes in one of the sacred rivers, he decides to fulfil Bhupen’s long time wish of going to the mountains and justify their friendship. “Bhupen ki aatma yahin in pahadon mein basti hai (Bhupen’s soul lay in these mountains),” says Amit.
The three friends make up their mind to commence their journey to the Himalayas. Uunchai is this metaphoric journey of the friends in tow with yet another character Mala Trivedi (Sarika) who joins them. It is this journey that exposes the layers of everyone’s past and present. Everyone has a past. How the past makes its presence felt in the present and whether and how these friends face them forms the crux of the story. The journey also has Parineeti Chopra who plays Shraddha Gupta the trek leader.
The first half of the narrative is very breezy and entertaining. It is so inspiring that one would want to call up a few friends and set on a road trip. It showcases the titbits of what’s going on in the trio’s lives, their fun banters and love and concern for each other. How the friends reluctantly agree to embark for the trek at their ages, the preparation and the fun involved brings that sweet smile on one’s face.
It is post interval that they set foot on the Himalayas but not without some emotional moments. How the aged friends take a trek to the Everest Base Camp, to fulfil their late friend Bhupen’s last wish. How a simple trek turns out to be a personal, emotional, and spiritual journey as they battle their physical limitations and discover the true meaning of freedom forms the rest of the narrative. Sooraj Barjatya has very subtly conveyed to the audience that one does not achieve anything without impediments. If one has the intention to reach one’s Uunchai, he will overcome the hurdles and move ahead to achieve the ultimate goal.
Unlike Sooraj Barjatya’s most popular films with grand sets and houses playing their parts, Uunchai is a narrative set outside the homes and that too on the Himalayas, nothing less, as the attraction.
It indeed is fun to watch these actors, the most envious of friends. Amitabh Bachchan steals the show as the most understanding and emotional of the lot, he lightens up the screen with his towering presence. Boman Irani and Anupan Kher too display their raw acting prowess and add to their existing admiration. Neena Gupta, in her small but significant role adds some fun and emotional performance with great ease and makes the character believable. Sarika looks regal. She has a very emotional part and performs that with aplomb.
The film score is composed by George Joseph. The songs are composed by Amit Trivedi on lyrics written by Irshad Kamil. The songs are rendered by Nakash Aziz, Divya Kumar, Devender Pal Singh, Amit Trivedi, Abhijeet Srivastava, Javed Ali, Deepali Sathe, Madhubanti Bagchi and Mohit Chauhan. The first song ‘Keti Ko’ with all the four friends enjoying is the most exciting and stays back with you when one relives the four friends’ friendship
Overall, Rajshri productions being one production house that tells the most emotional and family stories’ Uunchai is the best family outing this season.
Director: Sooraj Barjatya
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani, Anupam Kher, Sarika, Neena Gupta, Parineeti Chopra, Danny Denzongpa, Nafisa Ali Sodhi, Raju Kher, Sheen Dass, Abhishek Singh Pathania
Duration: 170 Mins