Sharmaji Namkeen movie review: Rishi Kapoor’s final adieu is an everlasting gem
What: Sharmaji Namkeen review: Rishi Kapoor’s last film is as amazing as his penchant for good food in real life.
OTT movie Sharmaji Namkeen review
This film has no partisan politics, no muscle bound heroes beating up endless waves of baddies, no simpering misses singing vapid romantic songs in exotic foreign locations, no villains with grudges, no ear-drum shattering sound effects and yes, no colliding and exploding vehicles. And even though this film is set in a middle class neighborhood, this film does not have the usual dripping taps or leaking roofs either. And choosing to not have any of these makes Sharmaji Namkeen such a brilliant original movie.
This film asks a very pertinent question: Just because I retired from my job, does it mean that my brain has to stop working too?
This film is about B G Sharma (Rishi Kapoor) who has been forced to take voluntary retirement but refuses to accept the quiet life. He refuses to become a part of the furniture at home, who lives at the mercy of his children. He refuses to go for walks in the park or watch TV. So what does he do?
First things first: Before the movie begins, Ranbir Kapoor shows up to tell us that this is his dad’s - Rishi Kapoor’s - last film. And that Paresh Rawal kindly stepped in and helped finish the film. Even an old cynic like me felt a twinge of sadness to hear that. Rishi Kapoor has been a successful romantic lead, but I have been super-impressed with his recent roles as an older actor. So Rishi Kapoor and Paresh Rawal play B G Sharma.
B G Sharma has two sons. Rinku (Suhail Nayyar), works in what looks like an MNC firm, and has a younger son who is studying B.Com, but prefers to dance. Sharmaji cooks everything from ghee laden stuffed parathas to chaat for his sons, who just don’t understand why he’s so obsessed with food. They just cannot get over that their retired dad won’t behave like other retired folk and will follow his own madness that takes him to zumba classes instead of boring walks around the park.
Sharmaji’s major complaint is: My family does not remember my existence unless it is time to pay bills. His best friend Chaddha (A rather wonderful role played by Satish Kaushik) lends a helping hand by suggesting he visit someone’s home and cook for a ‘satsang’.
At first Sharmaji is outraged. How can a respectable man like me go to someone’s home and cook there like some ordinary cook? But Chaddha has promised those people and Sharmaji is told that he will be treated with respect…
This starts a wonderful new chapter in Sharmaji’s life. It brings a smile to his face even though at first he is outraged because this is no ‘satsang’, this a fun filled mad kitty party of a group of women: Juhi Chawla, Sheeba Chadhha et al dancing to ‘Baby doll main sone di’! Sharmaji’s food is so good, the women insist he cook for them again and again.
Not finding appreciation at home, Sharmaji finds friendship and appreciation in this group of older women who have their own reasons to be partying together and often. Even though this group puts a smile of appreciation on Sharmaji’s face, he does not want his sons (or the rest of his family) to know why he’s happy.
At this point I am reminded of this wonderful Japanese film called Shall We Dance by Masayuki Suo (1996). In this film, a successful accountant who has a wonderful family knows that there’s something missing in his life. Distracted by the image of a beautiful girl whom he sees standing pensively at a window when he travels by train, one day he breaks his routine and seeks out the girl. He realizes that she is a dancer, and is now a teacher at a dance studio. The accountant signs up for dance lessons and discovers his talent. This is a secret he keeps from his family. The students at the studio become friends with him and his wife thinks he’s having an affair! The detective she pays uncovers his secret and all is well again. This film was adapted by Hollywood in 2004 with Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and Jennifer Lopez…
Also Robert De Niro as The Intern made for a delightful film about life after retirement. Both these films are on Netflix. They are a must watch as well.
Well Sharmaji’s secret does come out and there is an obvious rift between him and the sons. The story moves wonderfully, making you smile and chuckle and clap even. That’s what makes us go to the theatres, right? The film will be released on March 31 on Amazon Prime Video and for once I can say that I will watch the film again. Such a warm fun film about older people who watch YouTube videos of a film and as Satish Kaushik says, ‘This last scene should be made a part of curricula in schools and colleges’ What film is he talking about? Well, watch Sharmaji Namkeen and find out for yourself.
Satish Kaushik is fabulous as a true friend and good support comes from Niraj Shah – the humumar (same age) member who is the spectator.
What?! The Grouch found no flaws? There is one needless scene of intimacy between the older son and his girlfriend and yes, the ‘Tamatar’ song (which is heard before watching the film), and out of context, the lyrics of the song sound ghastly. For these two things, I would subtract a whole star.
I loved the film. Am glad Rishi Kapoor’s last film was as amazing as his penchant for good food in real life. Watch this Khatta-meetha experience while you’re eating food with your family!