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102, Not Out  : Super Innings
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Friday, May 4, 2018
Umesh Shukla
Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor

Hark back to the simple cinema of Hrishikesh Mukherjee where light comedy sprinkled with emotional home truths add up to an entertaining movie for the family. It has touches of Hrishida’s Anand and Ravi Chopra’s Baghban but Saumya Joshi’s writing has a life of its own. 


There are two major contributors out here. One is the refreshingly different storyline and uncomplicated storytelling. The second element without which the first wouldn’t have succeeded is the easy efficiency of its lead actors. Delightful Amitabh Bachchan as Dattatraya Vakharia and the consummate Rishi Kapoor as his son Babulal, elevate the writing.


Babulal is the hunched and grumpy 75-year-old whose life revolves around his medical condition.


His father in MF Hussain getup is the 102-year-old with twinkling eyes and a zest for life. One day, Vakharia decides that having his morose son around isn’t good for his longevity. So Babulal must be packed off to an old age home. He’ll set a record too in the bargain – of being the first father in the history of mankind to send his son to an old age home. 


Babulal who’s stuck to a routine all his life, clinging to things familiar, can’t bear the idea of leaving home. But his father won’t change his mind unless of course, Babulal fulfils a list of impossible conditions.    


Essentially the story of just two characters, director Umesh Shukla brings in Dhiru who works part-time at the medical store, to be the bridge.


And several scenes are comfortingly snug and amusing. Like the three going out for Chinese dinner. Or the Chinese cut-out of the world’s oldest person whose record Dattatraya is out to match.  


Somewhere along the way, Babulal’s family life is unspooled. Some may wonder why his father doesn’t have a back story but actually it was a good idea to let Dattatraya just be who he is in the present. Besides, whatever Babulal has gone through is Dattaraya’s story too, it’s all in the family. And giving the father a different track of his own would’ve been too predictable.


Why Dattaraya does what he does to Babulal and the smooth change in the son where a sunny smile breaks out over his face, give it a heart and a tearful moment that go beyond the obvious chuckle.


It’s difficult to say who’s better. Amitabh Bachchan who makes Dattatraya so endearing? Or Rishi Kapoor whose shoulders stop stooping ever so subtly? Sandwiched between them is Gujarati actor Jimit Trivedi who holds his own as Dhiru caught between the stalwarts.    


Salim-Suleiman’s music especially Sonu Nigam’s ‘Kulfi’ further add to the simple appeal of the film.


One sore note is the enforced Gujarati, especially by Bachchan who suddenly says ‘payking’ for packing, ‘jobe’ for job and ‘note’ for ‘not’ but drops his accent at convenience.


But I’m nit-picking.  


Verdict: Super performances and a unique story that amuses and touches the heart make 102 Not Outa neat family entertainer. It gets a healthy 3* rating.


Direction: 3.5/5

Story: 4/5

Screenplay: 3.5/5

Dialogues: 3/5

Music: 3/5


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author


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