102 Not Out

wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?)

quick review:

Quite the let-down after that brilliant trailer. There is always a silver lining when Amitabh Bachchan is in the frame though! That bit never goes wrong.

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Director: Umesh Shukla
Running time: 110 minutes
More Movie Info

A parent’s job is never done. Even if they are 102 and going on 103, there is a quote of number-of-lectures-to-child-per-day that he has to fulfill. Dads will be dads. They will never stop doing what they think is good for you. Dad jokes will be dad jokes too! That is my first takeaway from 102 Not Out. What a brilliant concept it was – the relationship between a lively, devil-may-care this dad with his gloomy, resigned-to-life 75-year-old son. But naah, the film stops being innovative at the concept and picks the most predictable path going further.

The songs are lilting and I surely will want to hear them again.

102 Not Out ends up becoming the same ol’ coming-of-age movie, only that it is of a septuagenarian. It is quite literally as predictable as that. Sure, it does touch upon themes like some older people feeling needy and over-dependent on their children’s attention even as they live life making themselves believe that they understand their children’s disinterest in them. Hand-in-hand is the theme of a callous section of the younger generation whose sense of entitlement makes others in their own generation gape, wide-eyed with astonishment. These extremes take you away from empathizing with an otherwise pretty believable generation gap. Almost everyone in the audience has experienced this gap in real life, so it is a shame that the easily accessible opportunity to make you identify with it is lost.

Some of these decisions on tone and style gave me the feeling that it was quite intentional. The sketches used for transitions are nicely done but unfortunately, come too often. The comic-strip like treatment where you are waiting for Dattatray to do next silly-yet-wise thing à la Calvin is amusing in the beginning, but gets repetitive and predictable within 10 minutes. The episodic treatment to the conditions, Dattatray (Amitabh Bachchan) has Babu (Rishi Kapoor) complete if the latter wants to continue staying with him, is another instance of a decision about tone that gets boring very soon. Interestingly, these things completely disappear in the second.

Some other narrative stylistic decisions vanish too, but you don’t miss them because they were an ear-sore in the first place – the voice-over, for example. While Vijay Raaz’s voice is great as usual, the spoon-feeding done by his voice-over is completely unnecessary. The film jerkily becomes a tad more serious, and real-life like in the second half too. Another bit that unfortunately doesn’t do a disappearing act is Dheeru (Jimit Trivedi). The father-son duo’s man Friday has only function in the film – to represent the audience. He asks the questions we have, “Why is Dattray being so crazy?”, “What purpose does this action serve?”. Once asked, these questions are then answered in an explanatory monologue making it a told-didn’t-show narrative.

So, you have this good-natured father who plays mind games with his what looks like clinically anxious son who also seems to have OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). Mind games that in his mind are only for his son’s good. You have to remind yourself that this man was supposedly born in times when psychotherapy wasn’t all that popular. And despite all the wrong ways in which he tries to do the right things yet you want him to get more out of his life. You want this 102-year-old man to live on.

This is not only because he is played by Amitabh Bachchan and it will indeed be a sad day when Big B passes away, but also because he makes you believe this manipulative old man is charming and has a practical mind with a golden heart. As usual, it is the other nuances that reaffirm my awe for the man’s talent. Amitabh Bachchan, a man who has lip-synced for a living over almost 5 decades convinces you that Dattatray is a bad lip-sync singer. I can’t think of any other person who does old and tired drooping shoulders better than this suave man who can give today’s models a run for their money on the ramp. Despite the character’s know-it-all attitude, only this actor can make a tear roll down your cheek even while he is giving the most predictable spiel. The same man can make you smile or even laugh every time he says, “Yo!”

Rishi Kapoor stands up tall against him, scene-for-scene but Amitabh Bachchan owns the scenes even when he is over-acting, especially in the first half hour or so. Jimit Trivedi does what is asked off him, to play a simpleton who asks all the right questions, at all the right times. Their accents bring a smile at how authentic they should even though they all slip up every once in a while. Watch out for how Chicago is pronounced.

these questions are then answered in an explanatory monologue making it a told-didn’t-show narrative

Fortunately, the language used is very cute. Especially some of the Hindi words that are not often heard these days – in real life or in films. Other than that, 102 Not Out relies on old-school slapsticky tools like the mandatory toilet joke. Or the attempt to make you smile such as a music cue or a background sound. These work some times work and at other times you are indifferent to them, which is worse than them not working. There is a weird insertion in the form of an eye donation awareness scene. It was almost like, “Film about old people. Old people will watch it. Let’s push a relevant social agenda through.”

However, after a long while, I liked a film’s music instantaneously. The title music is unique as a set-up song and reminded me of Barfi’s title song. The songs are lilting and I surely will want to hear them again.

I feel the way in which the trailer is cut, is to blame largely for not being able to enjoy the film as much. It covers all the good lines and gives away the gist of the film, also foretells the ‘big reveal’ leaving zero element of surprise in the 10-15 minutes of exposition and little for the rest of the film. So, the trailer sets you up with great laughs and leaves very few for the theater.

Also, the movie is a weird mix of concepts, and social and philosophical messages. A little bit of Anand, a little bit of Baghbaan, a little bit of cringe at having named those two films in one line. It becomes as much about letting go, as it is about a parent-child relationship and leaves you bored with both.

- meeta, a part of the audience

29 reviewers(?) - 12 yays 11 so-so 6 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, 102 NOT OUT is a complete family entertainer with strong emotions as its trump card. It carries an important message for today’s times. At the box office, it will have a strong word of mouth and families are bound to flock to watch it in theatres. Recommended! ... full review

Thumbs up, by Ankita Chaurasia , Bollywood Life : ...Even if your folks care about superheroes saving the galaxy from a power-hungry, mass-culling enthusiast, drag them to watch this delightful film over the weekend. Make a family outing out of it, we say! ... full review

Thumbs up, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Deccan Chronicle : ...102 Not Out is a light hearted family drama for a perfect weekend. Go, spot this one and celebrate life! ... full review

Thumbs up, by Meena Iyer, DNA : ...If you love your elders, take them to watch this film. The tears of their appreciation will warm your heart. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ... 102 Not Out is an acting primer really for the young generation of actors who should all watch it to know how it’s done... ... full review

Thumbs up, by Charu Thakur, india today : ...102 Not Out is a film for you. Because 102 Not Out has its heart in the right place, if not many other things.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nilesh Ramchadani, Kia Gia : ...On the whole, '102 Not Out' is a movie you should watch with your entire family. Because this will not just provide you entertainment but also will make a point that we are nothing without our family. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, once in a blue moon we get to see such films- a pure family entertainer from the word go. The makers explore the concept of ‘Don’t die till you’re alive’ without being preachy. You’ll come out of the theater loving Amitabh Bachchan & Rishi Kapoor a bit more. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonil Dedhia, MiD DAY : ...The beauty of the film is that none of its pitfalls eventually matter. The movie wins you over with its innocence and simplicity. Actor Jimit Trivedi, as the errand boy, deserves a special mention as he provides some of the film's lighter moments with his over-the-top acts. But Bachchan and Kapoor's effortless performances, coupled with their intoxicating screen presence make this movie worth watching. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Kriti Tulsiani, News18.com : ...But despite its shortcomings, 102 Not Out is a simple sweet watch and offers many little moments. And it is moments like these that warm your heart. It’s the kind of film your parents and grandparents would relish on a Sunday afternoon with each thing simplified at its best. The simplification, however, is subject to personal beliefs and experiences. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Rachit Gupta, Times of India : ...Films like ‘102 Not Out’ are best enjoyed with the family. The ease with which the film portrays the bittersweet relationship between its characters is fantastic. Such films are like soft serve ice cream on a sparkly Sunday afternoon.... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Zee News : ...Don't grovel before your child for that one tri-monthly phonecall. It is meaningless. 102 Not Out teaches us to find that one rare moment of truth that binds two people together even if they are not meant to be together for keeps. ... full review

So-So, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ... The friendly neighbourhood chemist boy (played by Jimit Trivedi) is used merely as a filler to fill up the spaces left behind by a sketchy script. While the charismatic screen presence of the two luminous leads cannot be overlooked, it’s actually the striking background score, the nostalgia-inducing sketch-animation highlights of Mumbai and the melodious songs that actually keep you invested.... full review

So-So, by Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Gulf News : ...While it may not shake you to the core, the film has the power to put a smile on your face as you watch the Vakharia men learn a thing or two in the sunset of their lives. ... full review

So-So, by Rohit Vats, Hindustan Times : ...What a joy to watch two fantastic actors working in tandem in a performance-oriented film! ... full review

So-So, Khaleej Times : ...Overall with moderate production values which include basic computer generated images that makes this telling appear like a fairy tale, the film is a heart-warming celebration of life. ... full review

So-So, by Jaidev Hemmady, Movie Talkies : ...What may work for the film is that it is a wholesome family fare sans any item numbers or crude humour or violence… so, if you are looking for a film to be seen with your family, 102 Not Out should not disappoint you. ... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Hindi films have forever depicted unconscionable sons and wards who assimilate their grief, right from Avtaar (1983) to Baghban(2003). But this one goes beyond mirroring the clichéd plot and even offers a solution that neglected parents may find inconvenient to execute but surely one that offers redemption of sorts. The moral of the story — cling to the happy memories and chuck the unpleasant. ... full review

So-So, by Manisha Lakhe, Now Running.com : ...But the treatment of the entire film is so melodramatic, it takes away from the joy of the story. Especially the TV soap ending. This film is a great Sunday afternoon TV watch. ... full review

So-So, by ANISH MOHANTY, Planet Bollywood : ...'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. ... full review

So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Add to that, 102 Not Out never shrugs off the feeling of made-for-stage or garbled, lost-in-translation Gujarati texture. ... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...Bachchan’s performance barely measures up to role he played in Piku (2015) as the father with a digestive tract crisis. Kapoor fares better, and is far more believable as the curmudgeonly Babulal who simply wants to be left alone. The heart goes out to Babulal, who is under the thumb of his domineering father at all times, and develops a brain of his own very late in the day. Daddy knows best, even when he is over a hundred. ... full review

So-So, by Rummana, yahoo! India : ...Watch ‘102 Not Out’ for the lead actors. Their memorable portrayals alone make this one worth a visit to theatre. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...102 Not Out is mildly amusing, but not memorable. Bollywood is yet to make the definite film about coping with age. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...I suspect that this is the kind of average fare that relies on who its viewers are. Many parents might choose to overlook the flimsiness and view this as a winning unbeaten century in a chase. I’m not so sure others may look at it the same way. After all, if an opening batsman scores 102 Not Out in the first innings of an ODI match, it’s more likely that the knock is slow, selfish, self-defeating and bereft of awareness. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...Datta is hell-bent on fixing his miserable son and threatens to pack him off to an old age home if doesn't fulfil his many demands. And so begins Babulal's reawakening as he reluctantly dances to his daddy's tunes and subsequently learns to love life again. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Shalini Langer, indian express : ...No doubt it's great to see a film about two old people. But we have seen both Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor in that avatar in better films (Piku especially, and in Kapoor & Sons) before this.... full review

Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, NDTV : ...102 Not Out is, as I said, a sweet film. It's nice to see an old Bachchan picture on the wall, circa Abhimaan, just as it is fine to see a photograph of a Khel Khel Mein Kapoor teaching his son math. Yet despite Bachchan and Kapoor - and young Jimit Trivedi, who plays the enthusiastic domestic help with infectious enthusiasm - the film relies too heavily on prosthetics, with liver spots being used either for laughs, or instead of character details. All we ever know about Dattatraya is his decrepitude. For a film about living a full life, that feels rather toothless. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...Based on a Gujarati play of the same name, Umesh Shukla’s film is unable to leave its inherent theatricality behind. It gets unchanging in terms of the give and take between the duo and leaves the viewers static too. It stirs nothing within, leaving you unmoved. All the whimsy you would have hoped for remains confined to the tagline of the film — Baap Cool, Beta Old School. ... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

2 readers - 1 yays 0 so-so 1 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Neeta

Nay! Thumbs Down, by TimELiebe : Didn't even make it past 20 minutes on Netflix - & we're an undiscriminating group!

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Half a swear word
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: A young-at-heart centurian teaches a few life-lessons to his 75-year-old son.
  • General Look and Feel: Bright and crisp. Even loud at times.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

102 Not Out - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Background Score:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
110 minutes

Comments (3)

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Hey! I like your style of reviewing. Aren't you gonna review Omerta? Was looking forward to that..

@Manik Thanks!
I didn't get a chance to review Omerta, but another wogma reviewer, Yogesh Parmar reviewed it recently. Here's the link https://wogma.com/movie/omerta-default/

@Meeta - sorry, even Amitabh Bachchan & Rishi Kapoor couldn't save this movie.

We gave it 20 minutes (as our movie group usually does with movies we watch on Sunday nights), and we were all Thumbs Down after that.

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