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102 NOT OUT - A contradicting message oriented film, completely relying upon its cast. (Review by Bobby Sing)

07 May, 2018 | Movie Reviews / 2018 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / N

An unusual kind of story revolving around just two characters of a father and a son, 102 NOT OUT has some noteworthy merits to its credit in terms of the intention and performances of two veteran artists of our Hindi cinema. But at the same time it also lacks a lot in terms of cinematic adaptation of Saumya Joshi’s Gujarati play, which overall results in a heartfelt but not so engaging or impactful film trying to give a relevant social message with a surprisingly contradictory conclusion.

Beginning with an impressive set of artworks showcased in its opening credits, it pleasantly introduces its three characters with a voice over but then doesn’t come up with anything significant in the next 50 minutes till the intermission, severely hampering the spirits and excitement of its keen viewers. Yes some timely funny dialogues do bring in the smiles at long intervals, but the film actually addresses nothing, till it reveals the actual emotional plot post intermission moving into a largely predictable zone. So what remains missing is a mature enjoyable comedy promised by the widely publicized promos and trailers relying on the two big names.

However what’s there in the film is the splendid chemistry between the two stalwarts, wherein the junior outshines his senior, coming up with a highly natural and likable act playing the old aged-son. No doubt Amitabh delivers what is expected from him as a lively old man full of positive vibes. But his act doesn’t look like complete natural at all, may be due to the forced Gujarati accent or the tacky (distracting) makeup presenting him as a mix of M. F. Hussain and Mr. Bhaskar from the film PIKU. Besides we also do not get to see any variation in his character throughout the film, with everything presented in the same ‘over the top’ manner in order to make him look more vibrant and bright.
On the other hand, not only Rishi Kapoor’s makeover looks natural but the actor too simply excels in the role of a 75 years old father displaying many variations in his emotional onscreen portrayal. So though the title 102 NOT OUT actually points towards the character of Amitabh Bachchan, the true scene-stealer in the film remains Rishi Kapoor, which might be surprising for many viewers as well as the trade experts.
Actually its not about any comparison, but all through the 70s and 80s, where Amitabh superbly kept overshadowing his co-stars in many cult films (due to the obvious reasons), this time Rishi takes the lead and its indeed a treat watching both the gifted artists together after such a long time, a complete era to be precise.
With no other character in the script except the entertaining Jimit Trivedi adding a few lighter moments, 102 NOT OUT mostly remains within the ancestral house of Amitabh-Rishi and therefore keeps giving you the feeling of watching a good budget play instead of a feature film. The basic idea by Saumya Joshi is fresh and touching but the direction of Umesh Shukla makes it too neat and glossy that doesn’t really match the characters living their eighth and eleventh decades of life. Moreover both the writer and director keep struggling in the first hour as they couldn't reveal the 'predictable thin plot' so soon in a 102 minutes film (justifying its interesting title).
With a decent cinematography and background score, the soundtrack or songs (once again) make no contribution whatsoever in the film’s overall feel with the much publicized ‘Badumbaa’ missing, and another forcibly created golden gem ‘Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam’ thankfully not included. With due respect, was not expecting the otherwise thoughtful team recreating such an iconic song in such an avoidable way (may be to bluntly promote Saregama's CARAVAN device). In fact, Amitabh simply reciting the words in his own style as poetry, would surely have made a much more deeper impact relating with the film’s theme.
(*Indicative Spoiler Ahead)
Coming to the more important contradicting part of the film- its major plot and culmination, I couldn’t get how the team wished to give a positive family message to the audience by ending it on an unexpectedly negative note. In indicative words, a film talking about family bonding and relationships should ideally aim at re-joining a scattered family, getting them all together after years promoting love and forgiveness…… instead of further breaking them forever promoting family vengeance.
To be specific, at such an old age, the grandparents are actually very keen on spending their final years, playing with their grand sons and daughters, watching them growing into adults, without caring or ignoring the minor hiccups in the family (which are always there). In reality, this is a kind of last sacrifice they make, adjusting with the changing environment in homes (with mostly young working couples nowadays) just to be with their grandchildren...... enjoying their last phase of life.
A traditional Indian saying goes, “Mool Se Sood Zyada Pyara Hota Hai” which is often used in reference of grandparents feeling more love and attachment towards their grandchildren. Ironically the film simply remains uninterested in moving into any such positive direction in the end, further widening an already existing gap within the family in an irreversible manner.
Personally for me that wasn’t any appreciable part of the writing, ending it on a destructive note, as I neither support nor can promote breaking of families, giving an utterly wrong message to the next generation.
So though 102 NOT OUT desperately keeps trying to appear as a positive message oriented film in its (major) 90 minutes, it actually turns out to be just the opposite with such a negative and family-breaking climax presented in the final 12 minutes. Besides it also gives a hidden message that a family oriented film remains seriously dry and incomplete without the presence of a WOMAN.
Summing it all, the pleasant cast ensemble remained the only feature of this strictly average (and contradicting) film that worked for me to be honest. And you can also go for it just to enjoy the two veterans together on screen without expecting anything else.
Rating : 2 + 0.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 just for bringing our Lambu Ji- Chhotu Ji back on screen together celebrating their golden era)
(Note: The article was first published on UC-News Mobile App on 7th May 2018)

Tags : 102 Not Out Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing
07 May 2018 / Comment ( 0 )
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