I am no movie buff – but an Amitabh Bachchan movie is a different experience altogether. So the very next day after its release the Sodhi family, on a rare outing, went to watch 102 Not Out. The promos had looked promising, with an exuberant centurion Gujrati father and his relationship with his old, morose son.
I had loved the movie Piku when it was released 3 years back. It depicted the relationship between an ageing, slightly eccentric Bengali father and his unmarried daughter, who together took a road trip to Kolkata from New Delhi. So expecting a similar refreshing take on relationships, we decided to make this a family viewing.
However, the movie, at least to my sensibilities, fell below my expectations. Though only 100 minutes long – while the first half was interspersed with comic mirth, the second half dragged at times. A storyline that could have been handled better to deliver more. Both actors – Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor were brilliant but their masterly act failed to deliver what Piku did.
Bachchan had looked more Bengali perhaps with his familiarity with that culture versus his Gujju counterpart. Even the nuances of mannerisms, food and habits portrayed by the lead duo in Piku felt more authentic than this extremely talented duo of 102 Not Out.
There were few brand integrations, which are slowly becoming a norm in Bollywood – a music company, a mobile phone company and even a bakery. While the music company integration weaved itself well in the story line, as the father like all oldies is shown to be very fond of listening to old songs whom the brand and the product aims to target; but the other two integrations were little forced.
The bakery scene integrated itself only half way to an extent that the older generation fondly remembers their food habits of a bygone era by visiting the place again and ordering the same thing as remembrance which is what that scene in the movie was all about.
The last integration was little forced fit – the mobile company integrated their new launch as the mobile phone the old son preferred to use. While the company is targeting youth as their target audience for their products, the mobile phone integration would have worked better in the 102 year old Bachchan character who lived his life like a 26 year old and not for a person who behaved like his natural grumpy 75 year old in the movie. However, if this integration helps the brand who am I to question their strategy.
All in all – the movie does succeed in its message of “living life to the fullest as if there is no tomorrow” which is what the world talks about today. I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 rating – it is a short movie, do go and watch for the superb acting by two stalwarts of our time. YO!
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