Aging is a funny concept. The human race has always tried to capture moments, knowing that time does not stop. We age everyday and as years pass, a lot of things change, some we can cope with while the rest take up our remaining life to deal with. Life looks like a mundane routine while one is working as it starts at 9 and ends at 5. This cycle goes on for several years until people are old and weary. Retirement is the next destination but it goes differently for each and everyone. To take such a delicate concept and integrate it with that of family dynamics and the society, director Hitesh Bhatia has successfully accomplished the task with ‘Sharmaji Namkeen’.
Rishi Kapoor, aka, our beloved Chintu Ji as B.G. Sharma fits this role perfectly. It’s almost as if the idea of this movie was conceived for him. He has always been a family man and a foodie so the character of Sharmaji resonates with Rishi Kapoor and vice versa. Due to his sudden demise almost two years back, this role was then taken up by the brilliant Paresh Rawal. With a refreshing concept and a character played by 2 world-class legends, ‘Sharmaji Namkeen’ is one of the best movies I’ve watched. The story is very simple, that of a retired Sharmaji, unsure about his life post retirement and his 2 nagging sons, but the cast does all the magic.
The movie revolves around a recently retired Sharmaji who is also a single father. His wife Suman, expired a few years back and it seems like he still hasn’t recovered from her loss. He also has 2 boys, both in their adulthood who don’t share a very good bond with him. They keep asking him to relax at home in retirement but that doesn’t suit Sharmaji afterall. After trying out various new things like Zumba, real estate, dog walking and more, he finally discovers his long-standing passion for food. Being a single father, he has always cooked for his children but he never saw that skill as a profession until now.
With this cooking adventure, he befriends a group of ladies including Juhi Chawla as the organizer. The group consists of several ladies, each with their own issues, united by the enthusiasm and craze for kitty parties. Sharmaji is appointed to cook for these kitties and his taste in food as well as his personality grows on all of those ladies who then make him a part of their group. The best part about the entire movie was the magic it created with Kapoor Saab and Paresh Rawal interchangeably playing Sharmaji.
Rishi Kapoor as Sharmaji was the MVP of the movie. He steals the entire show and how! It is evident from the movie how much he has enjoyed playing this role, the sense of contentment is reverberating. In the end of the movie, it was difficult to convince myself that he is no more and that this was actually his last movie. Paresh Rawal, who stepped up at the right time to continue this legendary act caught on to every nuance of Rishi Kapoor, right from the Punjabi accent to the dressing. Suhail Nayyar and Taaruk Raina as his kids have done an excellent job at being indifferent children to a very concerned and involved dad. Their constant nagging and angry fits at him, although very hurtful to the audiences, seem very real & authentic.
Old age is considered as the last and wisest phase in human life but not everyone understands that life completes a full circle with this phase. An infant begins life as a child and ends like one too. While we run from a routine all our lives, we end up craving for the same routine when things are not the same anymore. Kitties have been looked upon from another perspective in this film which shows how it creates a sense of community for females. Posing a question on concepts of aging and gender stereotypes, the entire crew of ‘Sharmaji Namkeen’ has actually made this movie worth savoring!
‘Sharmaji Namkeen’ is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.