Director: Sooraj Barjatya
Writer: Abhishek Dixit
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Danny Denzongpa, Parineeti Chopra, Neena Gupta, and Sarika.
If you take a closer look at all the films that Sooraj Barjatya has made over the decades, it would be certain that his movies have largely focussed on bringing people together. The filmmaker attempts the same with Uunchai, and his age-old formula continues to work in 2022. No matter how old you are, the movie takes you on a joyride of emotions.
The movie’s protagonists (Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, and Danny Denzongpa) are four friends who’d do anything for each other. While they might forget about their woes when they are together, the four buddies are dealing with issues that invariably come with old age. One fine day, Denzongpa, a Nepali native, expresses his desire to take his friends to the Everest Base Camp. The idea is instantly shunned by his friends who feel it’s a challenging expedition for people their age.
The decision eventually changes with Bhupen’s (Denzongpa) untimely passing. Amit Srivastava (Amitabh Bachchan) tries to convince his other two friends – Om Sharma (Anupam Kher) and Javed Siddiqui (Boman Irani) to go on the trek just to fulfill their dead friend’s dream. A couple of fights later, followed by a lot of convincing, they unanimously agree to take up the challenge.
This sets the tone of the story. While you may already be missing someone and plan on calling them after the movie at this juncture, there’s more in store for you. Barjatya has wasted no time by giving needless backstories or unnecessary details about the characters, which is a refreshing break from what’s usually the case today. You are only introduced to those aspects of the characters that actually matter. And the journey only intensifies as the movie progresses.
Parineeti Chopra plays Shraddha Gupta – the Everest Base Camp guide. Adhering to the firm instructions laid out by her, the three friends start preparing for the trek. After months of slogging, cracking a few bones, and almost becoming fit – the three set out on a road trip to Nepal. Neena Gupta aka Shabina Siddiqui (Javed’s wife) and Sarika as Mala Trivedi also tag along.
The film takes a classic Barjatya twist from here. Both Om and Javed have epiphanies about life and old age brings forth certain realizations about life in general. His thoughts really help shape your perspective — on what really matters and what doesn’t. The tone shifts from comedy to deeper and heavier tones, only to oscillate back to a lighter note rather effortlessly.
The expedition begins and I won’t spoil it by getting into details. However, here’s a hint: Since the three friends are able to finish it, I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed with the second half of the film. Barjatya has yet again conjured up a heart-warming film in an era of masala entertainers and proved that his magic formula is evergreen.
Coming to performances, there are clearly no debates or questions raised over the acting prowess of these seasoned actors. Amitabh Bachchan is a natural and steals the show in many of the scenes. Danny Denzongpa might be around for just a couple of scenes but is incredibly delightful to watch on-screen. Anupam Kher and Boman Irani are clearly acting geniuses, who never disappoint. The camaraderie shared by the four actors on-screen is truly a vibe.
Neena Gupta, who is ruling the screen space one movie at a time, doesn’t fail to impress. Sarika may have been away from the movies for a while, but her comeback makes you want to see her more often. And lastly, Parineeti Chopra’s rapport with the veterans gives the audience an inkling of what she’s truly capable of, as an actress.
Watch Uunchai to understand relationships from Barjatya’s lens. The film takes you through the roads of North India and evokes bouts of craving for Imartis in Agra and kachoris in Lucknow. Feast your vision of the magnificent Mt. Everest, as the movie captures it in all its glory. Extra brownie points for a storyline that actually feels like a warm hug by the end of it.
(Featured Image Credits: IMDb @Uunchai)