Sharmaji Namkeen

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quick review:

The charm that Rishi Kapoor brings to a character is the only draw, and of course, that it was his last film. The rest is everyone struggling with the issue of generation gap, including the writers.

(Available on Prime Video)

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Director: Hitesh Bhatia
Running time: 120 minutes
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If I ever think of the film, the first thing that will come to mind is the transitions between Rishi Kapoor and Paresh Rawal. The next thing I will recall is the ambience of an urban, upper-middle-class Indian household. Other than that, though, nothing about the story, situations or characters stand out enough to stay in long-term memory.

the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” familial attitude towards women—across all ages.

Ranbir Kapoor does an excellent job of taking the audience into confidence. A crisp explanation of having Paresh Rawal fill in for Rishi Kapoor in scenes that he couldn’t finish gets you curious. Yet, I was a little sceptical, to begin with. Despite the makers’ best efforts and intent, I wasn’t sure how it would work out.

Indeed, in the beginning, it did feel like the audience was being asked to “adjust a bit”. Like we were being told, “we know you understand.” Remarkably, though, soon enough, you get used to the transitions. Of course, some of them are well-executed, and most of them are not jarring. I also think it does help that the human mind when in a pliable mode, has immense capacity to get accustomed to whatever it is asked to consider the norm.

The transitions were also made easier to digest because of the consistency in the atmosphere created—the production design and how the characters look, talk and behave. The small details, from the ubiquitous use of a mosquito racket to a mobile holder, stuck to the windshield of a car—such details tell you the background of the characters without saying a word.

The judgmental attitude of the people who are slightly above this economic class—whether they think the other is cute or snicker at the behaviour—doesn’t let you forget that there is a certain divide and that the two classes are trying to make sense of each other’s worlds.

The rest of the film, though, feels dry. Sure the not-so-subtle political digs, the sibling banter, and the day-to-day language keep you listening. But that isn’t enough to add zing to the film’s premise. Ultimately, each viewer is living at some point in the generation gap spectrum.

If you are in or past the late-50s, you feel outdated, irrelevant, and bored. And you have picked either the grumpy side or the “I will live life fully” side. If you are on the younger side, you know you have to spend time on things that don’t seem to interest you. Some are managing unsatiable expectations too. And you have either chosen to understand or be exasperated. Of course, it is not binary, but we know what this is because we are living it. This is why it doesn’t seem interesting, even though the film doesn’t exaggerate or stereotype anything à la Baghbaan.

it does help that the human mind, when in a pliable mode, has immense capacity to get accustomed to whatever it is asked to consider the norm

Even though Sharmaji Namkeen, the film tries to take both sides and presents everyone’s frustrations. It even shows the juxtaposition of the parent-child relationship when the child grows up to parent the parent. Unfortunately, the child who has a “why don’t you just stay quiet and do what I want you to do” gets a louder voice, thus making the movie annoying. I understand the world has enough children who are embarrassed by their parent’s behaviour, but that doesn’t make them characters I want to watch on screen. At least, not the way they are written here.

In all this social commentary, though, one thing stood out. Women in a kitty party are discussing the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” familial attitude towards women—across all ages. That hasn’t changed with generations.

Everything else in the film seems like a hotch-potch of themes being forced together. Thankfully, the cast, lead and supporting Rishi Kapoor’s unflappable, effortless charm don’t allow you to lose interest. Yep, that’s it. Ultimately, it is a film I would recommend only because it is Rishi Kapoor’s last film.

- meeta, a part of the audience

17 reviewers(?) - 10 yays 7 so-so 0 nays

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

Thumbs up, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...coming back to the film its light hearted project with entertaining sequences that deserves to be seen along with your family, remembering the charismatic Rishi Kapoor so with it at the earliest., enjoying a great evening together, having a delicious dinner.... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...This brings us to Paresh Rawal who fills the blanks that Rishi left behind, with a huge amount of empathetic earnestness. There is no attempt to mimic Rishi. The two actors share the same character with seamless accord. At times the effect is surreal: Paresh climbs a water tank to jump: Rishi Kapoor wakes up from the nightmare…Rishi watching Paresh on television….It’s the supreme occasion for suspension of disbelief , and well, we are up to it. Because the narrative’s heart is in the right place. And well, because we love Rishi Kapoor even when he not fully there with us.... full review

Thumbs up, by Russel D'Silva, Bollywood Life : ...Sharmaji Namkeen is a sweet, simple film, where you don't mind getting swayed by sentiment because of how it touches your heart. There are issues no doubt, but not once do they trump the fitting swansong this turns out to be for Rishi Kapoor. I'm going with 3 out of 5 stars.... full review

Thumbs up, DNA : ...The film is a must-watch family entertainer that celebrates evergreen Rishi Kapoor. The film will touch your heart, as it sends out a strong message for different generations.... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Watch the film for its message and to see two actors on the top of their craft essaying the same characters and making you root for it…... full review

Thumbs up, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...Sneha Khanwilkar who is known for her experimental music, fails to cook a delicious music album when it comes to Sharmaji Namkeen. None of the songs register on your lips and that's where this Rishi Kapoor-Paresh Rawal starrer disappoints a bit. Read more at: full review

Thumbs up, by Anicadna MM Vatticad, FirstPost : ...Rishi Kapoor’s endearing swan song is like the food that Sharmaji dishes out: well-balanced with just the right amount of sugar and spice, not aiming to be flashy but offering the comfort of a home-cooked meal.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...It's a lump-in-a-throat moment to watch him shine and smile against the most iconic song of his career and refuse to give another take in that trademark candour, 'Bhai, isse better shot nahi ho sakta.' Absolutely. Sharmaji Namkeen streams on Amazon Prime Video.... full review

Thumbs up, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...A posthumous release, who better than Rishi Kapoor to portray a character, who loves his family and food. The late actor was blessed with the ability of baring his soul in every character he essayed. Like his illustrious father Raj Kapoor and son Ranbir, there was an inherent honesty and spunk in Rishi Kapoor that reflected in his roles. In his youth, his good looks often overshadowed his versatile talent. Over time, he made sure he retained that charm while giving some distinctly memorable performances and Sharmaji can be termed as one of his finest. While Paresh Rawal was gracious enough to fill in for the portions that the former couldn’t due to his deteriorating health, this film belongs to Rishi Kapoor alone. It is he who leaves you teary-eyed with his smile and a thought. Indian parents are so used to prioritising their children. What happens when they decide to turn the tables? Is self-love deemed reckless and selfish because parents are expected to toe the line? Sharmaji Namkeen gives you food for thought.... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, Deepa Gahlot : ...Sharmaji Namkeen, is a pleasant watch, taking in an urban social issue of neglected elders, as well as the less-addressed one of dignity of labour. The film has its flaws, being somewhat half-baked being one of them, but Rishi Kapoor’s understanding of the character and his unbridled charm paper over the cracks; Rawal comes across as crabby (like the scene in which he nitpicks over the difference between momos and dimsums), but portrays a different trait of the same Sharmaji–one is sweet, the other spicy. Plus, there is the emotional hook of seeing the always fabulous Rishi Kapoor in his last role. It’s a pity that he never won a yearned-for National Award.... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, India Entertainment : ...There are countless men like our Brij Gopal Sharma. Too young, at 58, to be given a golden handshake and turfed out of his workplace. Too active to ‘chill’ in his modest home and watch unending soaps where nothing ever happens, or lounge in the park, where the elderly gang gets together for yoga classes and neighbourhood gossip. The one distinctive thing about Sharmaji (Rishi Kapoor) is that he loves rustling up finger lickin’ food, and he is the one, as a single father, who has lovingly fed his sons, now grown, one with a job, another in college. How does someone like him pass the time, as the days hang heavier and heavier?... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...who has lovingly fed his sons, now grown, one with a job, another in college. How does someone like him pass the time, as the days hang heavier and heavier?... full review

So-So, by Sameer Ahire, Movie Talkies : ...This cook-based concept has the potential to reach any level of unique filmmaking, but Sharmaji attempts nothing else but the same family drama with light-hearted moments. However, it still makes a decent sweet dish with Rishi Kapoor adding enough sugar and Paresh Rawal adding the needed salt to it. As a whole, Rishi Kapoor's last cinematic dish is indeed tasty enough, and only movie buffs with good taste can understand why.... full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...This, however, is no reflection on Paresh Rawal's ability as an actor. It is just that nobody can play a Delhi dad quite as effectively and effortlessly as Kapoor could. From the middle-class man struggling to make ends meet in Do Dooni Chaar and to a father struggling to reconnect with his son in Chandni Chowk (Rajma Chawal), he transitions to a mid-level corporate functionary forced into voluntary retirement who must quickly find an alternative employment in order to keep ennui at bay.... full review

So-So, by Sanjana Jhadav, Pinkvilla : ...Hitesh Bhatia's slice-of-life film will delight you with Rishi Kapoor's charm, its comedy and the food. The team also pays the sweetest tribute to the late legend in a touching post-climax scene. However, on the whole, Sharmaji Namkeen is strictly a few laughs with its heart in the right place... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...We request you to support our award-winning journalism by making a financial contribution towards the Scroll Ground Reporting Fund. The fund will ensure we can continue to ask the questions that need to be asked, investigate what needs to be uncovered, document what must not go unrecorded.... full review

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

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: Attempt to address the generation gap.
  • General Look and Feel: An urban upper middle class home

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Sharmaji Namkeen - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Music Director:
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Running time:
120 minutes

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