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Sharmaji Namkeen Review: Sweet Nostalgia

Sharmaji Namkeen is a Hindi drama film starring Rishi Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Suhail Nayyar and Isha Talwar in pivotal roles. Paresh Rawal completed the role of Rishi Kapoor after his demise and the film premiered on Amazon Prime Video on 31 March 2022.

Review Overview

General Rating

Summary

Sweet Nostalgia

From son Ranbir Kapoor who gives a warm intro to how his father Rishi Kapoor’s last film was completed after he passed on to the end credits with a replay of chartbusters like Om shanti om, writer-director Hitesh Bhatia’s debut outing drips nostalgia.

It’s commendable how the makers have taken the unique route of getting Paresh Rawal to seamlessly enter the scenes left incomplete by Rishi Kapoor. That the makers didn’t waste a single shot of Rishi’s but blended it well with Paresh Rawal stepping in to complete the story of Sharma, is worthy of applause. Rishi had his charm but Paresh too keeps the show going in his own way. 

A little reminiscent of Rishi Kapoor’s 2010 film Do Dooni Char which also saw him as a middle-class Delhi man, the retirement woes of BG Sharma will be relatable to many.       

In the kitchen, he has magic in his fingers and he loves cooking. But there’s nothing voluntary about widower BG Sharma’s retirement. Prematurely sent away with a retirement cheque and a huge gift hamper of home appliances, Sharmaji is a character familiar to most families. Thrown into the deep end quite suddenly, his efforts to keep himself occupied drive his sons Rinku (Suhail Nayyar) and Vincy (Taaruk Raina) up the wall. From ‘join Zumba classes’ and ‘take it easy’ to ‘come, sit at the cousin’s shop’, opinions on how he should keep himself occupied come from all quarters. 

Young aspirational adults doing well on the work front who sometimes tend to be dismissive of what a parent has achieved in his life is also a recognisable familial story.

It nudges Sharmaji to embark on a secret life doing what he enjoys. And he makes a bunch of unlikely new friends.

The bliss is threatened when son Rinku, all set to marry rich girlfriend Urmi (Isha Talwar) and move into a swank new apartment, has a fit when he discovers what his father’s been up to.

Until Sharmaji’s new friends step in when Rinku has a major problem with a builder.

A sweet little story, there are silly moments that required better writing. Like Sharmaji’s kitty party gang, led by Veena (Juhi Chawla), wearing schoolgirlish clothes in a sequence and the song ‘Lal tamatar’ interspersed with ‘ketchup ketchup’. Or the totally unnecessary scene where Sharmaji behaves like a gauche, never-seen-it-before have-not when he meets Urmi’s parents. It’s not a new kind of scene or rib-tickling funny and is actually quite inexplicable. Why would a man who has travelled a bit in his job, has a decent lot of friends and has befriended a well-to-do kitty party gang act like a wonderstruck upstart? Except as one more scene which irks Rinku, it really doesn’t take the story anywhere.  

On the other hand, ladies sharing their woes (the same ones of straying husbands and being disallowed to work outside the home) and Sharmaji briefing them about his family scene, has warmth. There is a bit of naivete in the scenes at the police station where mobile phones are broken and Sharmaji has a round of Dumb Charades with Veena. 

But the bond between the women and Sharmaji is a refreshing general thought. While you understand Sharmaji’s dilemma and ladies who have kitty parties aren’t written off as flippant airheads, Rinku’s embarrassment is also kept at a balance. 

Mercifully, Hitesh Bhatia doesn’t weave age-old financial problems into Sharmaji’s retirement story.   

Rinku’s and Vincy’s glimmer of respect for their father’s connections and a slice of hope for Sharmaji’s friendship with widowed Veena topped off with sentiments that this is Rishi Kapoor’s last piece of work, leave the viewer feeling that this was a sweet experience after all.

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Watch Sharmaji Namkeen Trailer:

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