Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Sharmaji Namkeen

"Sharmaji Namkeen" (2022) is an interesting movie, as it turns out to be the last one for a former Bollywood superstar.  The topic is retirement with family restrictions.  With no choice in the matter Sharma is forced to retire.  Families have an idea of what is proper behavior for their widower father.  As you  might imagine old people often appear to be out of date to their offspring.

An inescapable fact is that the leading man died during the filming leaving the dilemma of how to carry on.  Rishi Kapoor was only 67 when he died and they had already done a significant footage of film.  Rishi was key to the film and it would not be effective to not include his role in the remaining filming and too expensive to start from scratch.  They decided to hire a double and chose Paresh Rawal, a well established actor of a similar build.  Makeup and costume design help smooth over the small amount of dissonance.  In truth I am more of a Paresh Rawal fan, but was not sure which was which.  The role switches don't interfere with the story.

Ranbir Kapoor, son of Rishi Kapoor and a major star in his own right does a bilingual (English and Hindi) explanation to start the film.

After Sharma is left at home he is lost for what to do.  His eldest son Rinku ridicules many of his efforts and seems more concerned about what his friends and prospective relatives would think.  His son is getting married and planning to move into his own flat.  Through some misunderstanding (where would the film industry be without misunderstandings?) Sharma ends up cooking for a group of middle aged women who are delighted with what he offers.  He loosens up, gets involved with their games of charade and breaks into a dance once in awhile.  Someone posted a video of it and it reaches his son who is very embarrassed by it and objects to his dad's activities.  Eventually the father and son become mutually supportive with the help of the women's group.  It did seem to me the story could have been extended for a more satisfying ending, but undoubtedly the filming process had dragged on too long.

It is a satisfying ending in that Sharma does finally get to enjoy his retirement.  IMDB followers give it a better than average rating.  The end credits showed a few clips of Rishi in rehearsals, often giving out instructions to make the scene more effective.

The cast and crew had a tougher time than usual finishing this film and deserve some recognition.

Farhan Akhtar was one of the producers.  He started producing with a classic, "Dil Chatha Hai" (2001), then went on to "Lakshya" (2004), "Don" (2006) and many others.  He has since become a major actor with such films as "Rock On" (2008), "Karthik Calllng Karthik" (2010), "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" (2011), "Dil Dhadakne Do" (2015) and "The Sky is Pink" (2019).   check an older blog:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2011/11/farhan-akhtar-young-man-on-rise-in.html

Hitesh Bhatia was both director and writer.  It is only his second film.  He had been concerned about how the Kapoor family would accept the final film, but they loved it.  He described the last shot that was intended to be a long shot, but Rishi thought a close up would be better and waited for the makeup people to do their job.

Supratik Sen was a co-writer.  He has been involved with scripts for "Kaminey" (2009), "Kai Po Che" (2013), "Parched" (2015),"Fitoor" (2016), and "Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui" (2021). Check: http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2022/01/chandigarh-kare-aashiqui-another-social.html

Rishi Kapoor was the main character Sharma.  Rishi got an early start in films due to family connections.  Over 150 films including as a leading man, comic roles and even villains.  His films include "Bobby" (1973), "Luck by Chance" (2009), "Agneepath" (2012), "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" (2012)."Sanam Re" (2016), "Kapoor & Sons" (2016), and "102 Not Out" (2018).  During the filming of "Sharmaji Namkeen" he died in 2020/

Paresh Rawal stepped in to finish the role.  He has over 200 acting credits including such films as "Heri Pheri" (2000),  "Cheeni Kum" (2007), "Jaane Tu" (2008), "Road to Sangam" (2009), "Paa" (2009), "OMG Oh My God!" (2012), "Table No. 21" (2017) and "Sanju" (2018).  He has also produced hundreds of tv series episodes.  On top of all that he was a Member or Parliament 2014-2019. 

Juhi Chawla,who had a substantial supporting role was a big reason I decided to watch this film.  She is very deft with comedy, but has also done well in dramatic roles.  She is very subtle, which might be appreciated when she does charades both at a party, but also jailside.  As a former Miss India she once played the romantic lead in a number of movies.  Her hits include "Yes Boss" (1997), "Duplicate" (1998),  "3 Deewarein" (2003) "My Brother...Nikhil" ( 2005) and "Ventilator" (2018).  She formed a partnership with Shah Rukh Khah that led to Red Chillies Entertainment.  Lately her talents seem to be used mostly in comic roles, although she had had some involvement as a producer and has selected some socially relevant roles.  Check:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2020/07/ventilator-serious-movie-with-comic.html

 Suhail Nayyar played Rinku the son of Sharma.  His film credits included "Udta Punjab" (2016) and "Hotel Mumbai" (2018).

 Isha Talwar played the prospective daughter in law.  Her film credits include "Bangalore Days" (2014), "Tubelight" (2017), "Har Kisse Ke Hisse Kaamyrab" (2018), Article 15" (2019) and "Ginny Weds Sunny" (2020) .   Check:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/03/bangalore-days.html

Ranbir Kapoor, the son of Rishi Kapoor who not only gave the introduction, but also permission to carry on with the role switch.  Ranbir has established himself with a number of films such as "Wake up Sid" (2009), "Barfi" (2012), "Tamasha" (2015), "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" (2016) and "Sanju" (2018).  Check out:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2016/02/tamasha-wonderful-story.html

 This is an enjoyable two hours.  If you are like me you can appreciate that retirement is a time of opportunities.  The last chance to see Rishi Kapoor who left a legion of fans.

Movies I have seen are bolded at their first mention.

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