SHARMAJI NAMKEEN is a heartwarming film


Sharmaji Namkeen Review {3.0 / 5} & Review Rating

SHARMAJI NAMKEEN is the story of a retired man. Brij Gopal Sharma (COM)Rishi Kapoor and Paresh Rawal) works as an assistant manager at Madhuban Home Appliances in Delhi. His wife Suman passed away a few years ago and he resides in a middle-class neighborhood with his elder son Sandeep Sharma aka Rinku (Suhail Nayyar) and younger son Vincy (Taaruk Raina). He’s forced to opt for voluntary retirement though he’s 58 years old. At first, he’s happy with his retired life. A few months later, he gets restless. He’s fond of cooking and one day, he tells his sons that he’d like to start a chaat stall. Rinku gets angry over this idea and hence, Sharmaji drops the plan. Meanwhile, his close friend, Chaddha (Satish Kaushik), asks Sharmaji one day to cook for guests at a friend’s place for a religious gathering. Sharmaji at first refuses but later, gives in. He goes to the place of Manju Gulati (Sheeba Chadha) and cooks delicious dishes. However, he realizes that Manju and her guests are not having any religious ceremony; instead, a kitty party is going on in full swing. An enraged Sharmaji runs away. He gets mad at Chaddha. His anger soon evaporates as Manju calls him and praises his food. He’s also invited to cook during their next kitty session. Sharmaji, hence, starts attending their kitty parties as an expert cook, without informing his sons. He also gets close to Veena Manchanda (Juhi Chawla), who has also lost her spouse, just like Sharmaji. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

Sharmaji Namkeen

Hitesh Bhatia’s story is lovely. It might give you a déjà vu of similar films in this space like RAJMA CHAWAL [2018]DO DOONI CHAAR [2010], etc. However, the crux and conflict shown are drastically different from any of these films. Supratik Sen and Hitesh Bhatia’s screenplay is full of entertaining and mostly light-hearted moments. The beauty of writing is that it never gets heavy or depressing. A few developments, however, defy logic and are childish. Supratik Sen and Hitesh Bhatia’s dialogues are one of the strengths of the film. Certain one-liners are sure to bring the house down.

Hitesh Bhatia’s direction is of a good standard, especially since it’s his directorial debut. In 121 minutes, he packs in a lot and also gives prominence to the side tracks. A few scenes stand out, direction wise, like Sharmaji dreaming about doing Zumba with the kitty ladies while dancing to ‘Baby Doll’. Another scene that stands out in this regard is when Sharmaji realizes that despite being a man, even his freedom is restricted, just like the housewives in the kitty gang.

On the flipside, the younger son’s track fails to entice. It seemed like the track of him failing was just added for the heck of it. Secondly, the finale, though funny, seems unconvincing and hence, some viewers might not appreciate it, especially since the rest of the film is in a realistic space. Lastly, as everyone is aware, Rishi Kapoor passed away before completing the film. Hence, Paresh Rawal stepped in. As a result, in several places, there’s a lot of switching that happens between the two actors. There are scenes where it’s Rishi Kapoor as Sharmaji bidding goodbye to his son from the balcony. And then, in the next shot, when he steps into the house, it’s Paresh Rawal playing the same part! Initially, it feels odd to see such an arrangement but soon, viewers get used to it. However, a few moviegoers might not be able to adjust to it as it’s never before seen phenomenon.

A Special Tribute to Rishi Kapoor Ji | Sharmaji Namkeen Amazon Prime Video

SHARMAJI NAMKEEN starts on a lovely note, showing Sharmaji’s retirement. It gives an idea to the viewers about the protagonist’s nature and personality. The scenes of Sharmaji getting bored with his retired life is nothing great but the fun begins once he cooks for Manju. The scene where he gestures Veena about whether the dal is fine is cute. The same goes for the scene where Veena drops Sharmaji and she opens up about her husband’s demise. Post-interval, the scene of Sharmaji explaining the difference between momo and dimsum is hilarious. A few emotional moments stand out in the second hour like Sharmaji and his sons realizing that they are all hiding something from each other, and Veena telling Sharmaji about the importance of family. The tribute to Rishi Kapoor during the end credits is fitting.

Speaking of performances, Rishi Kapoor is a delight to watch. He has played 60% of the part and effortlessly slips into the character. Paresh Rawal also gives his best. Juhi Chawla is too good and is sure to win hearts with her performance. Suhail Nayyar is apt for the part and leaves a mark. Isha Talwar (Urmi; Rinku’s love interest) makes her presence felt, despite the limited screen time. Taaruk Raina is okay. Satish Kaushik is dependable as always. Sheeba Chadha is in her element. Parmeet Sethi (Robbie) looks dashing and his performance is first-rate. Aarti (Sulagna Panigrahi) is lovely. Ayesha Raza is wasted. Shrikant Verma (corrupt cop) and the actors playing the builder Jain, Sharmaji’s boss Sikka and Urmi’s parents are decent.

Sneha Khanwalkar’s music suits the theme and genre of the film. ‘Ye Luthrey’ is good as the title track. ‘Aaram Karo’ is quite quirky. ‘Laal Tamatar’ and ‘Boom Boom’ are also similarly peculiar. Sneha Khanwalkar’s background score is subtle.

Harendra Singh and Piyush Puty’s cinematography is appropriate. Nikhil Kovale’s production design is realistic. Sheetal Sharma and Sujata Rajain’s costumes are authentic. 16 Bit Production’s VFX is neat. Bodhaditya Banerjee’s editing is sharp.

On the whole, SHARMAJI NAMKEEN is a heartwarming film. Despite the shortcomings, it will leave viewers smiling. It’ll also benefit and stand out as it’s the last film of Rishi Kapoor.



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