‘102 Not Out’ director Umesh Shukla: ‘The characters might be old, but it is an ageless comedy’

The film stars Amitabh Bachchan as a centenarian and Rishi Kapoor as his 75-year-old son.

102 Not Out marks the screen reunion of Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor 27 years after Ajooba. The actors play family members, but they are not brothers this time. Rather, Umesh Shukla’s comedy casts Bachchan as an eccentric 102-year-old man and Kapoor as his straitlaced 75-year-old son.

“When you see them both perform on camera, you suddenly see the magic happening,” Shukla told “One is spontaneous and the other is very method. But the craft that they bring out does not seem like craft because they look so natural. Their subtle performance is magic.”

Produced by Treetop Entertainment and Benchmark Pictures and Sony Pictures, the movie is scheduled for a May 4 release.

Based on Saumya Joshi’s Gujarati play of the same name, the film is about a centenarian who wants to break the world record of being the oldest man alive, which is held by a 118-year-old Chinese man. How does he plan to pull it off? “I will be the first father in the world to send his son to an old age home,” Bachchan roars with laughter in the film’s teaser.

“He [Bachchan’s character] realises that the Chinese man is living a long life because he never let any boring people around him,” Shukla said. “So he decides to put his boring son in an old age home. That is the funny catch.”

The movie has a Gujarati setting, just like the play. “The film is shot all over Mumbai and the characters live in a house in Vile Parle East,” Shukla said.

102 Not Out (2018).

Shukla had produced Joshi’s play over its six-year run, and he realised that the subject had universal appeal. “102 Not Out is an ageless movie,” said the filmmaker, who has also produced the films OMG Oh My God! (2012) and All Is Well (2015). “The film is about how you can be young at heart. At the age of 25, you can act like an 80-year-old. And at the age of 80 also you can be young.”

The filmmaker had Bachchan in mind when he decided to turn the play into a film. “When I narrated the subject to Bachchan saab, he agreed to be a part of this film,” Shukla said. “We were thinking who would play his son. Chintu ji [Rishi Kapoor] was there in my previous film All Is Well. So I spoke to Chintu ji about the subject and he loved it and agreed to do it in 10 minutes.”

Amar Akbar Anthony (1977).

The actors have collaborated in many films, including Kabhie Kabhie (1976), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Naseeb (1981) and Coolie (1983). Shukla wanted to make sure that 102 Not Out did not resemble these films in any way. “I have never gone out of my script’s content,” he said. “If I add that content, then the film would look the way it used to in their earlier films. To bring freshness, I was true to my script and they blended themselves very well to the script. Their chemistry is what interested me the most.”

Working with two heavyweights can be pressurising, but Shukla says the production was a breeze. “Both of them are very professional actors and both have very different temperaments,” Shukla said. “But at the same time, both of them are very passionate actors. When they are on set, they know exactly what to do. Whenever I filmed a scene, they were in character. At the same time they never disrespected my work and age. They were very calm and composed. I am really blessed to have such superstars in my film.”

102 Not Out.
102 Not Out.
Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11

A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.

“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.

Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.

‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).

The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.

The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.


The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.