After making a forgettable debut with 'Dhoondhte Reh Jaoge', director Umesh Shukla bounced back with 'OMG! Oh My God', a film that showed a mirror to the people in our country who resort to blind faith and are fooled by conniving people dressed up as godmen. Though the film borrowed its basic premise from a Gujarati play which itself was inspired from an Australian film, it turned out to be a very novel film for the Indian audience and was a huge success at the box-office. After that, Umesh made a family drama titled 'All Is Well' which sank without a trace. The director has experimented with different subjects in each of his films and the promos of his new film '102 Not Out' indicated that the film is unlike anything we have seen in Hindi cinema so far.
Dattatraya Vakharia (Amitabh Bachchan) is leading a healthy and spirited life at the age of 102. In his house, he keeps a life-size poster of a Chinese man who holds a record for being the oldest man alive at 118. Dattatraya is determined to break his record. His son Babulal (Rishi Kapoor) is seventy-five years old and does not have much interest in life. He remains dull and feels the need to popping a dozen pills every day to keep any kind of disease at bay. Dattatraya decides to send Babulal to an old age home. Babulal is aghast at his decision and asks him what kind of a father sends his son to an old age home. Dattatraya then puts across a bunch of conditions or tasks in front of Babulal which he would have to complete. Only then, he will be allowed to stay in the house.
Even though the film is shorter than two hours, one feels the interesting but circumscribed plot has been stretched too far. The film takes a lot of time to reveal the main conflict in the story and after that, you do get a bunch of heart-warming moments to witness but the drama never really reaches its peak and you end up wondering whether the play, it is based on, really deserved to be a film. The first half, too, has some nice moments, like the one when Babulal visits the church and think about the time he used to get his son to the church every Sunday when he was a little child.
Out of the two veterans, it is Rishi Kapoor who gets a better role and gets enough opportunity to showcase his range as an actor. He gets to bring to fore a variety of emotions and he does so exceptionally well. Amitabh Bachchan delivers a very good performance but it is slightly marred by the heavy prosthetics he is wearing. Jimmit Trivedi brings humour and is excellent as Dhiru. Dharmendra Gohil leaves a mark as Amol, Babulal's son.
'102 Not Out' is a sweet, little film that charms you sporadically but the screenplay is inconsistent and does not have enough meat to warrant a repeat viewing.