April 28, 2018
Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor-starrer "102 Not Out" is a
film that celebrates the youthfulness of human life and encourages people to
stay curious, says its director Umesh Shukla.
The film, based on a Gujarati play written by Saumya Joshi, revolves around a 75-year-old son and his 102-year-old father, who wishes to break the world record of being the oldest man alive -- held by a 118-year-old Chinese man.
"It is great to see how our audience is excited about the combination of these two iconic actors (Amitabh and Rishi) coming together. The fact is that our film is a youthful film narrated by an old father-son duo. And we could not have got it better than this... This is the best cast," Shukla told IANS.
"The story would not have been so interesting if pitched between a 40-year-old father and 10-year-old son. Since these old men already lived their lives, it is interesting to know how they deal with old age. The film talks about how one should be a learner all their life and keep the curiosity alive to get rid of boredom and find a new purpose of living life to the fullest," he added.
As Big B and Rishi, who have earlier worked in films like "Amar Akbar Anthony" and "Naseeb", have come together on-screen after two decades, was there any extra pressure on set?
"Of course, the first day of shooting, especially for the unit, was a big day. And they were in a little tension. But the best part of these two legends is that they make people comfortable around them. So after a few days, our unit was also very easy on the set. I think that is how we managed to bring the best from all of us."
Shukla himself drew a lot from their experience.
"They used to talk a lot about how they worked in earlier days as shooting a film was difficult due to technology. However, they used to say that there was so much warmth with each other that they shared. Amitji is one of those progressive men I have come across who is so in sync with the new generation.
"He is always curious to know what is happening around. Our set was full of fun and galore," said the "OMG - Oh My God!" fame director.
Citing one example of their dedication and co-operation, Shukla said: "Since both the characters are Gujarati, I requested them not to wear chappals while doing the scenes. We do not wear chappals inside the house... That is not the practice in any Gujarati family. For us, our home is like our temple and you do not wear shoes inside the temple.
"When I explained it to them, they were very co-operative and did not even wear chappals during mid-length shots. That created a huge difference in their body language. As senior actors, they utilised it in the favour of their character."
While "OMG - Oh My God!" turned out to be a success for Shukla, his last release -- Rishi Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan-starrer "All Is Well" -- failed miserably.
In retrospect, Shukla says he knew that the film was going wrong following actress and now politician Smriti Irani's exit from the project after shooting for 29 days.
"She became a minister and that was a very different phase of her life. It was difficult from her end to give us time, which we totally understood. So we had to find a new actress to play the part. There are scenes that we shot earlier with Smritiji, in Himachal Pradesh.
"Later, I shot those scene with Supriya Pathak in Filmcity. Of course, it was not matchable. Abhishek started shooting for 'Happy New Year' and his look changed according to that character. That was not his fault because our shooting was stopped in between. It was just a bad phase," he added.
All in all, Shukla said his idea of entertainment through films is to leave the audience with a thought.
"'Oh My God!' was never an anti-God film. That was a film that questioned people who are earning money in the name of God. That is my idea of entertainment, where I want our audience to feel entertained and happy and want them to leave the theatre with a thought in mind from the film.
"In fact, I am expecting that after '102 Not Out', people will change their equation with their parents. They will understand the importance of living life to the fullest."
"102 Not Out" will release on May 4.