Star Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Juhi Chawla, Isha Talwar, Sheeba Chaddha,
Director: Hitesh Bhatia
What’s Good: Rishi Kapoor reminds us that his charm and cute arrogance are precious and unique. Hitesh Bhatia’s world-building and Juhi Chawla’s pleasant screen presence.
What’s Bad: The reminder that this is the last time we are watching a fresh Rishi Kapoor performance in this lifetime.
Loo Break: Rishi Kapoor would have never allowed you to take one, so don’t. Maybe at the beginning of the second half.
Watch or Not?: Please do. It is a slice-of-life family entertainer and one that is highly relatable.
Language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Available On: Amazon Prime Video.
Runtime: 121 Minutes
Brij Sharma (Rishi/Paresh) has just retired from his job and contemplating what he should do with the rest of his life. He tries different things and stumbles upon being a home chef for kitty parties arranged by a group of women. They form a bond and unfolds the cute story of Sharmaji Namkeen with a lot of heart.
Sharmaji Namkeen Movie Review: Script Analysis
First one must acknowledge how difficult it is to even imagine that Rishi Kapoor will no longer be seen in new films. The actor has given Indian Cinema the charm it enhanced over years and there is no way you can come out of this experience with moist eyes. Paresh Rawal fills the void and Hitesh Bhatia, who writers and directs this saga successfully blend him in the surrounding.
Coming to the film as a whole, Sharmaji Namkeen is a story idea by Bhatia and written by him with Supratik Sen together. The first thing a person can notice is Bhatia’s endearing world-building technique and Sen adding his relatability touches to every corner. The story is set in Delhi and of course focuses on the North Delhi South Delhi conflict. But in an industry which has juiced the last drop out of that landscape what new can you offer. Both Sen and Bhatia master the art of focusing on the correct things. Rather than introducing the clichéd, already known elements, they zoom into the heart of the city.
The duplexes with ‘chajje’ vs the high rises that are built to accommodate the so-called South Delhi elites! Getting deeper into creating an almost relatable world, they add elements from middle-class life. A fly sitting in food and a man trying hard to kill it, someone throwing a carry bag tied to a rope from their top floors so they don’t have to come down. The middle-class urge to use a phone cover till the last bit of it is ruined and so on.
Set in front of this backdrop is a sweet story of a father living with his two sons. Sharmaji’s friend played by Satish Kaushik in a scene calls him the ‘working-class hero’, and that is what he is. His problems may look like vanilla to others, but for him they are equivalent to world war. There are no villains in his life. His only conflict is to make his son realise that he needs a life too after getting retired and can be sitting at home like a furniture.
Sen who has worked on Kai Po Che, Kaminey, the recent Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui , brings his talent of adding the realness. Everything that Rishi Kapoor and Paresh Rawal do as a father is an actually Indian dad trait. Nothing over dramatised. With Bhatia he even manages to bring out humour of this setup very organically. The drama is given to the ladies minus Juhi Chawla. How amazing is Sheeba, my heart belongs to her!
The humour comes out of the day to day life. Senior citizens discussing WhatsApp forwards. One saying Baghban should be made compulsory in schools, the placement of all the comedy elements is so perfect that it just hits the right chord every single time.
The second half takes a slow star though. It’s like they are starting it all over again and not really continuing from where they left.
Sharmaji Namkeen Movie Review: Star Performance
Rishi Kapoor is the heart of the film. Giving another shade to a father after his brilliant performances in Kapoor & Sons and Mulk, he brings his charm and the cute arrogance to the table. Every scene where he is happy lights up the screen, his sadness sinks our heart. He not just becomes the father but the mother to his kids too.
Paresh Rawal fills the void left by the late superstar. The makers make a wise decision to blend the two actors together from the very beginning and not divide the screen space in half-half. Rawal also makes sure he stays close to the character Kapoor created and play it with conviction. But what lacks on Paresh’s department is the cuteness. It was Rishi Kapoor’s exclusive quality and that was bound to happen.
Juhi Chawla’s screen presence is one of the most positive things in Bollywood over the years and it continues to be. She flashes her million-dollar smile and that’s enough for the part she gets. Suhail Nayyar plays the elder son and does it with conviction. He has a task to perform alongside two of the most seasoned actors in the industry and he understands that. The actor is growing and I would love to see what he does next. Taaruk Raina gets to play the younger one and it is fun to watch him too.
Sheeba Chaddha as I said has all my heart. The actor takes effort to not make the South Delhi aunty character anymore caricaturised. Her dialogues are hilarious and timed correctly.
Sharmaji Namkeen Movie Review: Direction, Music
Hitesh Bhatia’s direction is powerful and quite nicely managed. A film like this has the highest chances of becoming chaotic and he handles it well. Considering this is his first feature film, the filmmaker does an impressive job.
Choosing Sneha Khanwalkar to handle music for this film is such a fresh and out-of-the-box choice. Sneha does an amazing job and with the very opening of the movie, you can witness the newness in the way the music is created for this genre in particular.
Sharmaji Namkeen Movie Review: The Last Word
It marks the end of an era of Indian cinema and maybe the beginning of many good things. With a lot of heart, love, and longing watch Sharmaji Namkeen soonest on Amazon Prime Video!
Sharmaji Namkeen Trailer
Sharmaji Namkeen releases on 31 March, 2022.
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