There are films which come and go and then there are films which turn out to be special and extremely emotional. If it was Dil Bechara which made the audience teary eyed watching Sushant Singh Rajput for the last time, then it is the new Hindi Film Sharmaji Namkeen which marks the final hoorah of the legend Rishi Kapoor. It was in 2020 when we had lost two legendary actors Irfan and Rishi Kapoor in two days. And it was a hard time for all of us. We had watched Rishi Kapoor from childhood and he was one actor who was definitely aging well with his amazing film choices. One such film was Sharmaji Namkeen which was left incomplete due to his sufden demise. But credit to producer Farhan Akhtar who had promised to release Rishi Kapoor’s last film and he finally did on the OTT giant Amazon Prime. But not before another legend Paresh Rawal stepped in Rishi Kapoor’s shoes! I can’t quite recall when another actor was ropped in to complete a part of an actor(if you discount the Paul Walker bit in F&F). So this for me was indeed the selling point and something which made me curious as I tuned in to Sharmaji Namkeen last night on Amazon Prime. So then is Sharmaji Namkeen, the final hoorah of Rishi Kapoor a heartwarming one, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Sharmaji Namkeen follows the story of a newly retired 58 year old who grapples with post retirement life until he takes up his cooking hobby as a profession. The story is really sweet and endearing especially because I have seen my dad do the same. One of the questions which he had post retirement was that how will I spend my time? And then he too turned to cooking(although not professionally) and he is getting better😊. In the very first scene, it was Ranbir Kapoor who gave an insight that Rishi Kapoor really wanted this film to be made. Now we know the reason😊. Honestly when I watched its trailer, I was a little on the fence as to how would the transition be between the scenes featuring two legends. To be fair, I did take sometime to settle in to the idea as a bunch of scenes were initially shot with Rishi Kapoor and a few by Paresh Rawal(and they were alternating at the very beginning). But once I warmed up to the idea, I began enjoying the film.
There are several heartwarming moments in the film which would put a smile on your face. While the screenplay follows a standard template, it is done quite well tackling a relevant household issue of retirees. The cooking part was well staged and quite interesting. Some of the sub plots work as well except the love angle between Sharmaji and Veena which was really not required. The breezy drama has its share of conflicts but ends on a heartwarming note. And that homage to Rishi Kapoor will make the most stone hearted person teary eyed. Overall, a well written screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues were slightly over the top and they could have been a little more subtle, although to be fair there are several heartwarming moments created through the dialogues. The music is alright but not memorable. The BGM is quite good. The cinematography is good capturing some mouth watering dishes brilliantly. Director Hitesh Bhatia does a pretty good job keeping things breezy yet not really melodramatic. He was able to engage the audience through his direction and so it is a job well done.
The performances are really good here. Shishir Sharma, Dipti Misra, Shiwangi Peswani and Madhu Anand Chandhock all have their moments to shine. Parmeet Sethi and Satish Kaushik are excellent in cameos. Ayesha Raza as Rupali and Sheeba Chaddha as Manju have their comic timing on point and they are fabulous to watch. Isha Talwar as Urmi looks very pretty and does quite a good job. As does Sulagna Panigrahi as Arti who has a sweet little role. Taaruk Raina as Vincy is effortless and manages to leave a mark. Suhail Nayyar is a highly underrated actor and he excels here as Sandeep. Hope to watch more of him going forward as well. It was an absolute pleasure to watch Juhi Chawla onscreen. She is stupendous as Mrs. Manchanda. Paresh Rawal as Sharmaji is quite brilliant and he is one person who we must all thank for agreeing to play the part and complete the film. And it is Rishi Kapoor as Sharmaji who is so heartwarming with an infectious energy in what turned out to be his last outing. He made you laugh throughout and put a smile on your face until it was time to bid adieu. But as they say the show must go on…..Chintuji, you will continue to live in our hearts. As the song goes, Jeena Yahaan, Marna Yahaan, Iske Siva, Jaana Kahaan…Jee Chahe Tab Humko Aawaaz Do..Hum The Yahin, Hum The Jahaan….
Sharmaji Namkeen is a heartwarming farewell to the legend Rishi Kapoor which will put a smile on your face(with a tear). Available on Amazon Prime.