Watching the antics of Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor as father and son in Umesh Shukla’s 102 Not Out, I am reminded of how cruelly commercial cinema has written off the old from the demography of India’s popular art. We no longer have the patriarchal figure looming over the family or the matriarch cooking for her son in the kitchen.
This is where Umesh’s 102 Not Out comes in. Its protagonists, as seen in the just-released trailer, are both senior citizens. Amitabh Bachchan, looking uncannily like painter M F Hussain, is 102 years old and still going strong. Rishi Kapoor playing the sourpuss son is 75, starchy and quite openly disgusted by his fun-loving Dad’s childlike spirit. This is a world of the wizened and the wacked-out never explored before in Hindi cinema except for a forgotten Paresh Rawal-Akshaye Khanna film directed by Priyadarshan..I’ve forgotten the name (damn, getting old). Haan yaad aaya…Mere Baap Pehle Aap.
This is a father-son Jodi never seen before. And we must all applaud Umesh for tapping the fun side of Big B at a time when he is being cast only in somber dark roles. Amitabh pulls out all stops and threatens to send his son to an old folks’ home. Interestingly there are no female characters to be seen in the trailer. This could only mean one thing. When father heckles the son, the ladies of the house make a run. Like Shukla’s two feature film so far, the controversial Oh My God and the lame All Is Well, 102 Not Out is also based on a hit Gujarati play entitled 102 Not Out, written and directed by Somya Joshi who also wrote the script of the film for Umesh. 102 Not Out is the story of 102-year old Dattaraya Vakharia who at his age continues to spin aspirations and dreams, while his cynical son the 75-year old Babu is cautious and cynical. Mr Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor were last seen together in 1991’s Ajooba. Prior to that they were together in Manmohan Desai’s hit films Amar Akbar Anthony, Naseeb and Coolie. In all these films they were seen as brothers. It would be interesting to see them play father and son for a change. Interestingly the 75-year old son’s role in 102 Not Out was to be played by Paresh Rawail who opted out due to his political commitments to the BJP.
This is not the first occasion when Umesh Shukla’s cinema has been stalled by his actor’s allegiance to the ruling regime. In 2015 Umesh’s All Is Well was stuck for a year when Smriti Irani opted out.
Have you watched the trailer yet? If not, here it is: