‘102 Not Out’ review: Too cool for old school

Table talk: The premise of 102 Not Out is especially promising.  

On paper, 102 Not Out seems nothing short of revolutionary. A mainstream Hindi film with two senior citizens — in fact one a centenarian — for protagonists. When has it happened before? Even films like Baghban and Baabul came with a good enough sprinkling of youngsters to shore things up commercially. In 102 Not Out, it’s just Big B and Rishi Kapoor to work the magic.

The premise appears to hold promise on paper. At 102 Dattatraya Vakharia (Amitabh Bachchan) wants to live on for 16 (or more) years to break the world record set by a Chinese man and become the oldest man alive. While the child in him is alive and kicking, his 75-year-old son Babulal (Rishi Kapoor) is as eccentric as they can come — even timing his stay in the shower to perfect 14 minutes lest he catches a cold. Fed up of his surly ways Dattatraya decides to pack Babulal off to an old age home unless he decides to take on the challenges he throws at him — from writing a love letter to his dead wife to breaking it off with his doctor.

102 Not Out
  • Director: Umesh Shukla
  • Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor
  • Storyline: A 102-year-old man decides to send his 75-year-old son to an old age home

You hope for a Raju Hirani like whimsy. There’s even a “All Is Well” like line — “Zinda hai tab tak marna nahi hai” (Don’t become dead till you are alive). But, what starts off as a quirky father-son tussle quickly lapses into the familiar emotional theme — empty nest syndrome, loneliness of old age and uncaring, selfish and greedy NRI kids. Things we have seen in countless films over the years — from Zindagi to Avtaar.

Forget about making absolute black and white personae of children and parents, the young as against the old, none of these familial problems get articulated with any freshness either. Bachchan tries too hard to liven up things in what remains a uni-dimensional role of an extrovert with a secret. Kapoor has a more complex character at hand and the air of ennui he works up sits well with his ill-natured, disgruntled persona. And all of it trundles towards a weepy finale which isn’t even good, manipulatively speaking, to make you take a box of tissues along to the theatre.

Based on a Gujarati play of the same name, Umesh Shukla’s film is unable to leave its inherent theatricality behind. It gets unchanging in terms of the give and take between the duo and leaves the viewers static too. It stirs nothing within, leaving you unmoved. All the whimsy you would have hoped for remains confined to the tagline of the film — Baap Cool, Beta Old School.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 6:28:13 AM |

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