It’s a theme film makers have taken a few times now. We saw Cake a couple of months ago. But that had both point of views, of the parent and the child(ren). On the flipside, 102 Not Out presents the POV of the aging dad(s). It is a fun, but predictable effort, saved by the towering presence of Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan.
Director Umesh Shukla deals with emotions that have been paraded on our screen for a long time and makes little effort to create a real connect with the audience. Had it been an out and out comedy, it would have engaged the audiences more. Some of the comic parts are really captivating and well done. It’s when the film turns to some form of family drama, he falls prey to clichés and looks out of his depth.
As the trailer shows, there is Amitabh Bachchan (Dattatraya) as the young at heart and fit as fiddle, father of a stuck-up old man Babu (Rishi Kapoor). Babu is at the centre of the story. Dattatraya is on a mission to change the ways of his son. There are forced challenges which are focused on reviving nostalgia and getting rid of unnecessary attachments. Babu, is threatened to be transferred in an old house, in case he fails to accomplish these tasks. Jimit Trivedi, the part time chemist, is a full time companion for these two men. He is around so we can hear flashbacks without going into the black and wide mode (there is a story from 1961).
Then there is this son of Babu, Amol. He hasn’t returned from America for 21 years, hasn’t repaid the money he took from his father, nor did he show up for his mother’s death; the almost imaginary villain of the film who we meet for about 3 minutes. Babu is being trained by Dattatraya to stand up to Amol for all his misdeeds. The film is about self discovery of Babu, who is initially timid, afraid of life and begging for time from his son, to being a confident, and independent man who can call out his son’s hypocrisy.
This is what the film is about. There are moments of real joy. The director knew he was banking on the prowess of the two legendary actors. Therefore, these are stars playing these roles, rather than these characters being powerful on their own. The painting of shots from beginning to end, become lethargic at some point but continue till the end of the film.
It’s a film which borrows its ideas from different places. Its clichéd and predictable. But what works is tremendous acting and fun sequences. It’s up to audiences imagination to read more than what the director is offering, to develop an emotional bond with the two old men.