One of the good or bad things about living through the pandemic was the diverse content I have started watching online. It has taken a toll on my reading that has really trickled to next to nothing. But, let’s not go there.

I particularly enjoy movies that show middle class North India.

I spent initial years of my life growing up in UP and have fond memories of my childhood. Somehow, when one looks back, the struggles have faded away and only the warmth remains. 

Does that happen to you as well? Or perhaps we subconsciously only focus on the beautiful parts.

My father was a bureaucrat and hence we moved around a lot from city to city in the initial years.

While my years in Bombay and Bengaluru (large Metros) have made me the cosmopolitan person that I am today, there is a small part of me that looks back at my middle class upbringing with nostalgia. 

These movies satisfy that longing for simpler times, familiar food, culture and lingo. 

First things first, Sharmaji Namkeen was a delightful movie to watch. Rishi Kapoor was such an accomplished actor not only as the dashing, romantic hero but in his second innings as a patriarch and has done some excellent work.

He becomes one with the roles he plays.

Do Dooni Chaar with his real life wife was another noteworthy watch.

This movie has Paresh Rawal stepping in for him after his death. The first such movie I remember watching where the same character is played by two very different actors.

Yet watching the two of them together was not jarring just needed a bit of getting used to.

Once one did, it was smooth sailing. 

The movie shows the dilemma that most of us with ageing parents feel. It also focusses on the trials and tribulations of a just-retired widower who is trying hard to seek purpose in his life.

The thing about men and especially those of the main character’s generation is that they ended up leading a mostly unidimensional life.

While these men had multiple roles in the family it was being bread winners and family patriarch that defined their identity.

Unlike women, who seek solace in socialising and sharing woes, men don’t really share much of their private lives or troubles sometimes even with their closest relatives and friends.

Most of them have been conditioned to be strong and to weather it out, and that is what they do. The social fulcrum in their lives are their wives who handle the festivals, family gatherings, phone calls and other social occasions.

Losing a spouse cuts them off socially as they struggle with establishing and nurturing connections which their wives handled effortlessly.

Even communication with their kids, grown up or otherwise become testing. In most families, children are closer to mothers sharing their angsts and deepest insecurities with them. They are left dangling in the air as well.

This scenario is shown so well. The struggles his character faces in staying meaningful after he retires from his day job leads to many funny situations.

Equally charming was the depiction of kitty party women who are seeking connection and like-minded socialisation. I must tell you that I find kitty parties mind-numbingingly boring but it was nice to see how they were portrayed in this movie.

Overall, this is a feel-good movie where all does end well despite many ups and downs. Enjoyed the roles of Juhi Chawla and Sheeba Chaddha a lot.

Paresh Rawal did an incredible job despite coming on board in a character that wasn’t really that great fit for him.

Seeing Ranbir’s heartfelt introduction was beautiful too. Overall, a really nice watch that will make your eyes well up a few times.

And will leave you with many questions too.

Have you seen this movie?

3 Thoughts on “Sharmaji Namkeen – A Social Commentary Done Well

  1. Tulika on July 11, 2022 at 3:12 pm said:

    Yes, I have and I loved it. When Rishi Kapoor is in his element no one can beat him. That image of his – dancing while he’s cooking is just so endearing. This is such a perceptive post. Men really do have it harder post-retirement because work makes up their entire lives. Also, that bit about women connecting them to the rest of the family and society is so on point. Loved the film and loved your thoughts on it too.

  2. A beautiful feel good movie. I love how they depict the life of middle class. Rishi Kapoor’s character was so charming. And the kitty party gang was so much fun to watch.

Do not leave without commenting. I love a good conversation :).

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