Umesh Shukla: Amitji and Rishi didn’t wear chappals during the scenes

Ever since the news broke out that Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor will be coming together for 102 NOT OUT directed by Umesh Shukla fans and well wishers just couldn’t keep calm. These veterans, who have entertained us over the years have come back together after more than two decades.

One just couldn’t help but wait for the most iconic film of this year and the day has just arrived, 102 NOT OUT will hit the screens tomorrow.

The film is based on a Gujarati play written by Saumya Joshi which revolves around a 75-year-old son and his 102-year-old father, who wishes to break the world record of being the oldest man alive held by a 118-year-old Chinese man. The similar concept has been kept in the film. The famous gujarati play is still running well and with the film coming we are sure the play will definitely become all the more popular.

Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor-starrer 102 NOT OUT is a film that celebrates the youthfulness of human life and encourages people to stay curious, its fun, full of life and one will definitely take away some thing.

In conversation with the man behind the mastermind of 102 Umesh Shukla as he spills beans on working with stalwarts of Bollywood and how was it directing them and getting back in one frame.

Excerpts from the interview


How did Amitabh Bachchan come on board?
Well, I had planned to make 102 NOT OUT I spoke to Abhishek and thought Amitabh sir would be apt for the role, I narrated the script to Abhishek and he told Amitabhji and then I approached sir. When I told Amitji I was thinking of Rishi sir he said, ‘yes, talk to him.’ and this how Amitabh Bachchan came on board.

The trailer has got humongous response? Did you expect that?
It is great to see how our audience is excited about the combination of these two iconic actors (Amitabh and Rishi) coming together. The fact is that our film is a youthful film narrated by an old father-son duo. And we could not have got it better than this... This is the best cast. The story would not have been so interesting if pitched between a 40-year-old father and 10-year-old son. Since these old men already lived their lives, it is interesting to know how they deal with old age. The film talks about how one should be a learner all their life and keep the curiosity alive to get rid of boredom and find a new purpose of living life to the fullest.

As Big B and Rishi, have come together on-screen after two decades, was there any extra pressure on the set s? How was it to direct them?
Of course, the first day of shooting, especially for the unit, was a big day. And they were in a little tension. But the best part of these two legends is that they make people comfortable around them. So after a few days, our unit was also very easy on the sets. I think that is how we managed to bring the best from all of us. They used to talk a lot about how they worked in earlier days as shooting a film was difficult due to technology. However, they used to say that there was so much warmth with each other that they shared. Amitji is one of those progressive men I have come across who is so in sync with the new generation.

Tell us some striking qualities between Rishi and Amitji?
He is always curious to know what is happening around. Our set was full of fun and galore. Since both the characters are Gujarati, I requested them not to wear chappals while doing the scenes. We do not wear chappals inside the house... That is not the practice in any Gujarati family. For us, our home is like our temple and you do not wear shoes inside the temple. When I explained it to them, they were very co-operative and did not even wear chappals during mid-length shots. That created a huge difference in their body language. As senior actors, they utilised it in the favour of their character.

Did you feel disheartened after the success of OMG Rishi Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan starrer ALL IS WELL failed miserably.
In my heart I knew that the film was going wrong following actress and now politician Smriti Irani's exit from the project after shooting for 29 days. She became a minister and that was a very different phase of her life. It was difficult from her end to give us time, which we totally understood. So we had to find a new actress to play the part. There are scenes that we shot earlier with Smritiji, in Himachal Pradesh. Later, I shot those scenes with Supriya Pathak in Filmcity. Of course, it was not matchable. Abhishek started shooting for HAPPY NEW YEAR and his look changed according to that character. That was not his fault because our shooting was stopped in between. It was just a bad phase. I want our audience to feel entertained and happy and want them to leave the theatre with a thought in mind from the film. In fact, I am expecting that after 102 NOT OUT, people will change their equation with their parents. They will understand the importance of living life to the fullest.