Rishi Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Juhi Chawla, Suhail Nayyar, Isha Talwar, Sheeba Chaddha, Ayesha Raza, Satish Kaushik, Parmeet Sethi, Taaruk Raina
What’s It About
‘Sharmaji Namkeen’ follows BG Sharma's life after he retires. He wants to start something fresh and doesn't want to sit around doing nothing. He confronts significant disapproval from his kids and society after he begins to pursue his hobby of cooking and attends kitty parties. Will the family finally accept the father’s wishes? Will the family be embarrassed to bits with the father’s newfound love for attending kitty parties? Will the father finally learn a lesson? Or will the sons finally realise their father’s potential and stand by his wishes? Well, to know all this, you’ll have to watch the movie to find out.
Rishi Kapoor’s last swansong is a perfect tailor-made role for him. He has previously played these loud-mouthed Delhi-based Punjabi father's characters really well in films like ‘Bewakoofiyaan’, ‘Do Dooni Chaar’, and many others, and he doesn’t disappoint even in ‘Sharmaji Namkeen’. His cute antics make this performance a memorable one. From dancing while cooking to waiting impatiently for his sons to leave for work, Rishi Kapoor simply touches your heart.
It was surprising to see Suhail Nayyar stand tall opposite a stalwart like Rishi Kapoor or Paresh Rawal and manage to deliver dialogues with such gusto and finesse. His performance is praiseworthy. It's his and Sharmaji's familial discords that the entire story is based on, and it feels good to see that despite being relatively new, Nayyar has managed to come up with a great performance.
The story by Hitesh Bhatia and Supratik Sen is a modern-day take on ‘Baghban’. To make matters even more obvious, there is a scene where Sharmaji and his friend are watching ‘Baghban’ sitting in a park and discussing that the movie should be made a compulsory thing to watch for all kids. The story speaks up about how the life of retired parents is usually boring and they keep searching for different things to keep themselves entertained. While the things could seem funny and embarrassing for the rest of the family members, they should also give in at times to the wishes of the elderly just-retired people without any questions.
The cinematography by Piyush Puty is spot on. The locales shown of Subhash Nagar in Delhi bring you the perfect feel for the story. Also, the indoor shots, despite being in a restrictive space, the scenes were made to look large in perspective by use of great camera angles.
The editing by Bodhaditya Banerjee is also seamless. While you’re made to see Rishi Kapoor in one scene as Sharmaji and in the very next scene Paresh Rawal as Sharmaji, there is never a spot where you’re feeling uncomfortable seeing the two play the same character. The duration also has been kept crisp and you’re left with a heavy heart yet smiling at the end of the film.
Paresh Rawal, who takes the onus of the portions of Sharmaji’s character that Rishi Kapoor couldn’t shoot before he passed away, looks utterly out of his place The character doesn’t suit his stature and way of dialogue delivery, and that, at times, looks a bit odd onscreen. While Kapoor was more of an instinctive actor, Rawal is more of a method actor and playing the same character, you will get to see the difference quite strikingly in ‘Sharmaji Namkeen’. While Kapoor’s Sharmaji comes out as very natural, Rawal’s Sharmaji is a bit subdued and forced.
Juhi Chawla and Rishi Kapoor’s paring after ages was the initial selling point of this movie, but sadly, the two didn’t have too many scenes together. Even if the scenes performed by Paresh Rawal are considered, the two characters simply don’t have that spark anymore. Rishi and Paresh both, look way too elderly for Juhi Chawla, who still looks very young, and therefore the romantic chemistry that audiences were made to expect was nowhere there.
Sneha Khanwalkar’s music is not at par with what audiences have seen her deliver before. The background score is still decent, but none of the songs registers with you and stays on after the movie is over.
Excepting Suhail Nayyar, none of the supporting cast has been given enough screen space to showcase their talents. Actresses Isha Talwar, Sheeba Chaddha, and Ayesha Raza have been completely wasted. Satish Kaushik has always excelled in such best friend characters, and yet he didn't get enough screen time to show off the Sardar character in full swing.
In an attempt to make this a picture-perfect ending for Rishi Kapoor, director Hitesh Bhatia focussed only on the character of Sharmaji. Rather, he should have also given the other characters around him time enough on screen, and that would have in turn showcased the heart behind the character of Sharmaji. The direction seemed a bit amateurish in this aspect.
As Satish Kaushik once says in the movie that ‘Baghban’ is a film that should be made mandatory for all, ‘Sharmaji Namkeen’ also leans towards that thought. Had the movie been just Rishi Kapoor through and through playing Sharmaji, it could have been one of his finest works. But without a doubt, it’s a heartwarming tale that would make audiences ponder about their own parents for once at least. It is a definite Must Watch. I am going with 3.5 stars.