Umesh Shukla directed '102 Not Out' is an enduring tale of the oldest Father-Son duo from the backdrop of modern Mumbai. When you have these two legendary acting powerhouse re-uniting after 27 long years you already have the belief of a worth watching film on its way. Well, in this case, the film is absolutely promising and strikes your heart with its beautiful journey of memories through joys and sorrows and a lot of true emotions that makes us think deep, are we forgetting to appreciate what we are blessed to have?
The film begins with the display of 2d animated famous sites from Mumbai right away from Gateway of India, Marine Drive, the Mount Mary Church and many more. The charismatic city of dreams Mumbai from where the two innocent oldies in the film belong. Flashing in an apartment from Mumbai Vile-parle, we are introduced to Babulal Vakharia a 75-year-old grumpy old passionless, health-conscious man with ridiculously silly habits of being particular about turning off the geyser with the sticker of the remainder on the bathroom door, a 14 minutes alarm clock for bath, daily blood-pressure checkup routine with the doctor and much more. The character is crafted conclusively with the habits and the usual nature of a tired old man thinking only about his US-based son Amol. While here comes the charm of the film, Dattatraya Vakharia played by Amitabh Bachchan, a full of life 102-year-old determined man with the heart of a 26-year-old guy aspiring to break the world record of the oldest man on earth and for this he just has to live for 16 more years. He strongly believes that he can break this record with the gist but the only hurdle in his life is his irritated grouchy old son with negative vibes all over. Dattatraya decides to make his son's way to an old-age home and if he doesn't there are consequences and conditions that he has to follow. Begining right away from writing a love letter to his late wife. This completion of tasks brings quirk and joy in the film's narrative and the father becomes a big headache in the son's life. Apart from these two, Jimit Trivedi, the pharmacist Gujarati guy is their companion, a listener and Dattatraya Vakharia's helping hand who stands out as a mild entertainer tickling our funny bones.
The first half is enjoyable, lively and just get us hooked on to the two lead characters scrumptiously delightful to watch on-screen. The second half is where the seriousness showers. Not giving away much as what happens next, the second half might require tissues to soak your tears up. Whereas the first half has Rishi Kapoor aka Babulal Vakharia going through the memory lane. With not a single flashback in the entire film, catering on with more of a realistic approach we have the king of narration Mr. Bachchan who makes us feel, believe, empathize and imagine the sequences with his powerful narration that needs applauds and ovation for sure.
Moreover, Big B got a shade of Bhaskor Banerjee from 'Piku' with not giving away his Bengali accent and the Gujarati dialect was just missing to add up a bit more authenticity and even after doing the Gujarat tourism campaign. Big B fails to grasp it. Rishi Kapoor's performance is way more impressive than anyone could have thought. His acting prowess has lifted the film up especially with those heavy dialogues in the end. Rishi sir speaks loudly with his emotional expressions without saying much his character is registered in our heart. The legendary Amitabh Bachchan essaying a mind-blowing exuberant character with a lot of grace and charm, we see a grandfather in Bachchan sahab.
Let's talk about how technically sorted this film was. A very simple flick that is made much more special with stellar acting performances by Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor connecting us to an awakening lesson of life where the audiences sense realization of valuing relations. Credit goes to the director-writer duo Umesh Shukla and Saumya Joshi who has woven an entertaining slice of life film with the compelling screenplay and flawless direction and yeah that's the Oh My God! director the sailor of the ship and you don't need to worry which direction does the ship sails.
We personally feel that the dialogues are the soul of this film. We hope you understand and the dialogues in the climax just win our heart and every single critic around us couldn't just stop clapping. Cinematography by Laxman Utekar is beguiling capturing breathtaking sequences from the city of dreams. Film editing by Bodhaditya Banerjee is spot on and you see bang on continuity in the film's narrative. Overall, 102 Not is a not to be missed film with a heavy dose of mixed emotions that are just going to stay in your heart forever.