Star Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Danny Denzongpa, Parineeti Chopra, Sarika, Neena Gupta, Nafisa Ali & ensemble.
Director: Sooraj Barjatya
What’s Good: It’s an USP Sooraj Barjatya movie where even he is trying to marinate his idea with modern ideology and create a tale about friendship that will connect across age groups.
What’s Bad: The general troops that the movie follows and the obsession of the filmmaker to only have beautiful people. Also, the runtime is a bit too much.
Loo Break: There is no point where you aren’t being entertained in this one, so you might want to wait for the interval.
Watch or Not?: For a return to the cinema of your childhood (if you are a 90s kid like me) and the vibe Barjatya endorses, there is no loss as such to invest in this one.
Available On: In Theatres Near You!
Runtime: 170 Minutes
4 friends all in their mid-seventies have been together for 50 long years. Their bond is eternal and beyond the label called friendship. One fine day, one of the four passes away suddenly and the rest are left with the deceased’s last wish. They decide to trek to Mount Everest Base Camp and unfold the tale of loss, love, and friendship.
Uunchai Movie Review: Script Analysis
Agree with it or not, Sooraj Barjatya is a brand in Hindi cinema. His fan base is spread across age groups and the core ones now are all adults and crave his cinema. The wide appeal of his films on television is proof enough. Over the years, man has taken over our subconscious in a way that many of us talk about Hindi cinema by referring to his characters. Even our antakshari game rounds begin with a song from his movie. You know the influence he has on us. So when he decides to bring together 7 of the most prolific and veteran names from the industry together in a movie about friendships and family values, he is here to take you on a nostalgia trip.
Uunchai, a movie that begins in the mountains takes you back to the days the reason behind this trek was unfolded. Written by Barjatya himself with Abhishek Dixit handling the screenplay, the movie is a classic Barjatya USP film that believes in simplistic storytelling. For a man who has based half his filmography replicating the Ramayana blueprint, understands the three-act structure in a way that he doesn’t like to break it. So even when he has 7 main characters, and 1 extended cameo (that too a well-known star), he doesn’t let the lines ever cross in a very intricate manner. He believes in telling all the stories one at a time and with ease that he possesses.
The fact that he makes the biggest of the stars and also acknowledges their age instantly reminds you that his cinema has aged with them. Anupam Kher, a constant in Sooraj Barjatya’s movies is the biggest of the reminders. The good thing is that the filmmaker also wants to cater to the newer audience while sticking to his morals and ethics. While there are songs after every heavy sequence, they are fresh and not the ones we have known him for. Or his constant nudge to the world of social media. But the latter point also turns a bit caricatured at a point. But his constant attention is on the friendship and the bonds.
While all of it is a breezy watch entertaining you all the time with some very stretched sequences leading to a very long run time, one cannot really ignore the problems. Women in the Barjatya universe only equipped men to trigger their stories and that very much continues here too. Of course, it comes to a point where Neena accepts she hasn’t given herself any attention, but that is too late. Also, why are everyone conventionally beautiful in this world and nobody belongs to the middle class? If you argue Boman and Kher’s characters are from the middle-class milieu, I am not buying that. The socio-economic structure is changing and that should reflect in films talking about real-time.
Also, the children-parent and parenting conflict are not to be just touched and left, Uunchai does that and kills a bit of the vibe.
Uunchai Movie Review: Star Performance
These are all the legendary names coming together to make a product with a filmmaker who is iconic in his own way. Amitabh Bachchan is only busy defying the notions around age and being himself. He brings the chirp and emotional core of the movie many times and it is so assuring to watch him do what he does at his age.
Anupam Kher still has his comic timing in place and nothing can be compared to how he used his body to bring out the humour. Boman Irani and his quirks are altogether a different animal and he even romances this time. Just too cute.
Talking of romance and cuteness, Neena Gupta is a breeze of fresh air in here as she is the only woman with (limited) agency. Every time she comes on the screen, you have to surrender and smile. Also, can anybody even touch the level of her enigmatic screen presence? Sarika in her second innings is doing a wonderful job and I hope she continues to for years now, because she still has it in her and we need to have that on screen more.
Parineeti Chopra in an extended cameo does a pretty decent job because she wakes up with crisp blow-dried hair and I can’t!
Uunchai Movie Review: Direction, Music
Sooraj Barjatya as a director finds beauty in culture and the love between a family. His need to diversify his characters is quite visible in his movies. Even Hum Saath Saath Hai, which was predominantly about one family included a Muslim couple. So he does that here too, but it does not really do anything to the entire storyline. But the filmmaker does know how to make the simplest of the movies and still keep audience entertained and hooked.
The man even tried his hand at the survival genre at a point and those 10 minutes or so are enough to tell you he can do that too.
Just the fact that the characters even after getting out of bed are prim and proper bothers because haven’t we already criticised television enough for it?
Amit Trivedi takes over the music and gives an album that will click with the audience. Particular Keti Ko, a celebratory song is fun and the way Barjatya picturizes is it incredible. It is like my childhood dancing in front of me because these are all the actors I have grown up watching. The background score gets very interesting in the second half and is good.
Uunchai Movie Review: The Last Word
Uunchai is a movie made with a lot of heart and a whole lot of nostalgia involved. Watch it with no expectations and with the thought that it is a filmmaker who wants to talk about love and its purity.
Uunchai releases on 11 November, 2022.
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For more recommendations, read our I Am Not River Jhelum Movie Review here.