By Chaitanya Padukone
Hats off to veteran competent director Sooraj Barjatya, and the Rajshri banner, for daring to literally climb uphill against the gusty winds of traditional filmy norms and make a family-entertainer maverick movie Uunchai ! With its classy content of heart-warming moments and soul-stirring scenes, the movie despite its minor flaws, does leave an emotional hang-over as you exit the auditorium. There is no mushy romance, no elaborate wedding ceremonies. Yet, you do not feel their absence Instead there is a beautiful bonding (peppered with naughty witty banter) among the senior citizen close friends. Uunchai is the engaging story of three senior friends Amit, an articulate writer-author (mega-star Amitabh Bachchan), Javed- a ladies’ sartorial entrepreneur (Boman Irani) and Om a vibrant book-shop owner.
They go on an exciting road trip from Delhi to Kathmandu and then trek to the Everest Base Camp in memory of a beloved senior friend Bhupen (Danny Denzongpa) they lost recently to cardiac arrest. The intriguing plot reveals that Bhupen always yearned to visit the Everest Base Camp (EBC) with his three best friends. On the first arduous trek of their lives,they battle their physical limitations and discover the true meaning of freedom by holding themselves accountable to their past mistakes. This personal, emotional and spiritual journey teaches them to gracefully accept their real age and to reconcile to reality. The back story of brilliant performer Sarika as discreet connection with Bhupen is unravelled with grace. Why her screen-character Mala is also super-enthusiastic about joining in the arduous trek to freezing cold EBC also has its startling twists-and-turn in the Uunchai tale.
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The first half of Uunchai is a bit slack in some scenes and tends to meander. But the post- interval content of Uunchai will take the theatre audience to an elevated high in terms of the unpredictable twists, crisp dialogues and intense yet realistic performances. The ever-bankable Neena Gupta is in full command of her author-backed spunky outspoken character of Javed’s wife and steals the show.. Background music score by George Joseph and songs (especially Keti Ko) by Amit Trivedi and spectacular cinematography by Manoj Kumar Khatoi is par excellence. Performance wise histrionic maestro Amitabh Bachchan executes his multi-layered character Amit with full aplomb . All the three super-actors Anupam, Boman and Danny ( guest appearance) are simply awesome. Uunchai definitely deserves a dil-sey-dekho at a nearby cinema-theatre.