My favourite feel-good film is 102 Not Out. I am glad that Prime Video has not removed it from their platform to date. This movie is just 102 minutes long – a fact I discovered while writing about it. The film gives life lessons that resonate with all age groups, despite being about two old men. It has an interesting premise. Amitabh Bachchan (Dattatrey Vakhariya) plays a father who plans to send his son, Babulal Vakhariya (Rishi Kapoor) to an old age home so that he can become the longest-living person in the world. His believes that his son’s negative outlook on life would rub off on him and prevent him from achieving the feat. So Babu can come back home only after sixteen years, once his father breaks the record of the Chinese man who currently holds the title.
The father-son duo is introduced by Vijay Raaz. Dattatrey is 102 years old but hasn’t aged past 26, as per the narrator. Babulal, on the other hand, is described as an old man of 75 years. He is someone who is not just scared of dying but also living. Dattatrey on the other hand is full of life and joie de vivre. He exclaims that he has never died (figuratively) in his life. We are also acquainted with Dhiru (Jimit Trivedi) who works in a local chemist shop, and is very much like a family member to the two old men.
Together they set out to play a game in which Dattatrey puts a condition in front of his son. Babulal has to fulfill it and Dhiru has to be a witness to the completion of each one. “Kyunki officially jaayenge toh thoda zyaada maza aayega!”, Dattatrey exclaims. The conditions, until the last one, appear funny but they all have a deeper meaning with the objective of making Babu full of life and confidence. He is made to revisit the joyful moments with his wife and call it quits with Dr. Mehta (just to give up his habit of visiting the doctor even when he is hale and hearty), among other conditions.
However, the final and most difficult one is that which Babu has to kick his son, Amol, out when he visits him from America. Babu disagrees with this and even threatens to file a court case against his father if he stops him from bequeathing his property to Amol. Dattatrey finally reveals that all these conditions were a ruse to make him strong enough to deal with Dattatrey’s imminent death from a brain tumour, which he was diagnosed with six months ago. Before dying, Dattareya resolves to free his son from Amol’s expectations. He says, “Uske bete ko mere bete ke saamne jeetne nahi dunga!”
102 Not Out is a touching and tear-jerking film. A lesson taught by it was that in case children (the same can hold true for other relationships as well) turn out to be disrespectful and greedy, then it is better to forget them. It is better to be disappointed rather than be hung up on false hopes. Life is not about living in the past. Also, old age does not mean that one must stop updating their skills or keeping oneself active both physically and mentally.
The word for retired in Spanish is ‘jubilado’ – conveying that being jubilant is the only way to live, which is accurately highlighted by 102 Not Out.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.