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Uunchai review: Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani's journey is beautiful, yet leaves you fatigued

Uunchai is a touching ode to companionship and the desire to experience life to the fullest in one's golden years.

3/5rating
Uunchai review: Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani's journey is beautiful, yet leaves you fatigued
Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, and Boman Irani in a still from Uunchai
  • Aishwarya Vasudevan

Last Updated: 12.11 PM, Nov 11, 2022

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Story:

The story of three friends—Om, a widower; Javed, a businessman—is told in Uunchai. In honour of a recently lost friend who always wanted to visit EBC (Everest Base Camp) with his three best friends, they take a road trip from Delhi to Kathmandu and then trek to EBC. On their first trek, they have to deal with the limits of their bodies and learn what it means to be free by taking responsibility for the wrongs they have done in the past. They learn to accept their age through this internal, emotional, and spiritual trip, and they return home with newfound vigour for living.

Review:

Uunchai starts with a monologue by Amitabh Bachchan about the beauty of the Himalayas, just like he does at the beginning of Brahmastra. In the film by Sooraj R. Barjatya, the senior actor is seen giving a voiceover while looking at the magnificent mountain range while on a flight. The film gives a hint about the three senior citizens who are best friends and are heading out on an Everest Base Camp (EBE) expedition to fulfil the last wish of their other best friend. But the film doesn't even start the trek until we reach the second half.

Uunchai moves quickly from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara to Baghban, where three characters, played by Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, and Boman Irani, learn lessons about life on the road. Barjatya stays true to his usual melodramatic and family-focused plots, which is great because the director keeps his charm. But a life update is truly needed, which I felt more from Uunchai. Mainly in terms of length, the movie is almost three hours long, and there are some long scenes that might test your patience. That is the film's most serious flaw. There is no festivity in the film, as in his previous ones, but rather a celebration of friendship, which is beautiful and believable from previous generations.

The viewers seemed to be taken on a journey to find out more about each character. Every actor, be it Bachchan, Kher, Irani, Neena Gupta, or Sarika, gets to play their part beautifully, and you feel for them. However, too much information can be dangerous, and the film suffers from this in spades.

The first half is colorful, as despite seeing the death of Bhupen (Danny Denzongpa), we see the rest of the three friends keep going, realising their lives are indeed short. Thus, the journey of their lives takes a new turn as we see them going from Delhi to Kathmandu. On their way, they meet several people who are their own but feel more like strangers, until they stumble upon someone who makes them feel like they have known them for a very long time.

These elements, which we can expect in a family drama, have been displayed in a detailed way, but it just gets tiring, so to speak.

The gears shift once the second half starts, and they finally start the trek. There comes the lead guide, Shraddha Gupta (Parineeti Chopra), who is a no-nonsense person unhappy with the fact that she has to look after the three senior citizens. Her character comes across as rude, and the reason behind it is also family. Even though it was known she would have a long cameo, there was more that could have been done with the actor.

When it comes to the performances of the lead actors, Amitabh Bachchan wins hands down with his performance. The actor just transforms himself from being an emotional person to a tough guy in no time, and what more can we even say? Bachchan is decked out in luxury brands from head to toe, showing his suaveness. You name it, and he wears that brand while speaking in "shudh" Hindi.

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Accompanying him shoulder-to-shoulder are Anupam Kher and Boman Irani. Kher is seen as a strict middle-class man who believes that he is right and people should agree with him. The senior actor blends so well into his character that you might resent him for his values but empathise with him when he sheds a tear.

Same with Irani, who is shown as a loving husband but also a flirt. However, his chemistry with Neena Gupta is adorable, and he believes that love knows no age; it can get better with age. So does Gupta, who is shown as a "mast maula" woman who has never lived apart from her husband and has no complaints about it. The actor brings in an entirely different charm when she marks her presence on the screen. So does Sarika, who comes across a mysterious character and maintains the same until all the revelations are made. In terms of casting, Uunchai deserves a round of applause.

Sooraj Barjatya, the filmmaker, is indeed back, but not so much with a young audience. But the style of the director has been missed on screen because family dramas aren't done as much in Hindi movies as they used to be. Barjatya's way of storytelling has a fresh dew, but unfortunately, the runtime is what spoils the play.

The same can be said about the music composed by Amit Trivedi. The album has seven songs, and all of them are placed in the movies, while some are even unnecessary as they slow down the progress of the story. George Joseph's background score also blends well with the scenes and adds a slight thrill during the trekking sequences.

Manoj Kumar Khatoi's cinematography is stupendous, and there are a lot of breathtaking visuals of the Himalayas as well as the colourful palettes in the bylanes of the cities of Uttar Pradesh. However, the same can't be said about the editing by Shweta Venkat Mathew, as the runtime could have been way shorter and the usual word "crisper."

Uunchai is feel-good, heartwarming, and like a hot cup of tea during the winter. But sometimes coffee does lose its taste when left open in the cold. You might run out of patience, but not without the feeling of an ode to friendship.

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Verdict:

Uunchai is a beautiful story about friendship and how seniors want to live their lives to the fullest. When new generations get frustrated with life, Sooraj R. Barjatya shows that life is short; live more and enjoy it more.

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