102 Not Out Goes From Easy-Breezy to Preachy and Contrived

102 Not Out, starring veteran actors Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor, hit the theatres on Friday, 4 May.

Updated
Bollywood
3 min read

In real life there is a 10-year-age gap between Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor, but the pair’s latest on-screen offering explores a father-son relationship between the two.

Kapoor plays a 75-year-old widower, Babulal, weighed down by the burden of his age. Bachchan, who plays the father to this septuagenarian, is quite the contrarian, looking at age as a mere number and a milestone he wants to celebrate.

“16 more years to go” he oft repeats, referring to his dream of outliving the record of the oldest man alive. Dattatraya Vakhariya is only 102.

Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor appeared on the sets of <i>Dance India Dance Li’l Masters</i> to promote <i>102 Not Out.</i>
Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor appeared on the sets of Dance India Dance Li’l Masters to promote 102 Not Out.
(Photo: Yogen Shah)
There is no doubting the ease with which Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor slip into the shoes of their characters. And their mastery of the craft is only proof that old is indeed gold.

Kapoor’s eccentric dada ji act in Kapoor & Sons still warms the heart. And under pressure to perform well in the loo, Piku’s Bhaskor Banerjee shows how Bachchan is effective no matter how wrinkled his on-screen avatar is! So one can only imagine the magic that is created when the two come together.

Umesh Shukla’s 102-min film capitalises on this.

Based on a Gujarati play by the same name, written by Soumya Joshi, it has a rather quirky premise about how a father wants to send his son to an Old Age Home.

Babulal is naturally devastated and to avoid the impending vridhashram visit must fulfil certain ”conditions” that daddy dear lays out for him.

It covers the whole gamut – from rib tickling moments to those tugging at our heartstrings.

The first half especially is easy-breezy with Bachchan and Kapoor’s natural charm warming us to their eccentricities. It’s clear that Dattatraya has a definite plan for the son and so we look forward to the same effervescent storytelling in the second half to understand the method to this madness.

That’s when the trouble starts.

A still from the film.&nbsp;
A still from the film. 
(Photo courtesy: Twitter/@102_notoutFilm)
Suddenly we shift gears and in order to achieve a dramatic and filmy denouement, the writing becomes preachy and laborious.

There is something oddly contrived and artificial in the way Babulal for instance deals with his US returned son or how Dattatraya and Babulal iron out their differences.

Jimit Trivedi as the friendly neighbourhood chemist tries to infuse some comic relief to the proceedings but has a limited role.The leads, however, are the prime lure and since Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor don’t let us down there is plenty in 102 Not Out worth celebrating.

3.5 QUINTS out of 5.

Camera: Shiv Kumar Maurya

Video Editor: Ashish MacCune

Video Producer: Chandni Sharma

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