Sharmaji Namkeen: A sweet and memorable dish served with a twist

While Rishi Kapoor and Paresh Rawal are truly namkeen in this film, Juhi Chawla brings in the charming sweetness with her role.

By Sanjiv Kulkarni

What does a man do in PRS? That’s a term I just coined. Post Retirement Stage.

This is the crux of Sharmaji Namkeen (2022), a movie that offers crisp storytelling along with a peek into the life of a middle-class family in today’s Delhi. There are so many men like Brij Gopal Sharma (played by Rishi Kapoor and Paresh Rawal) who struggle to keep themselves occupied after retirement. 

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The movie mixes PRS with Delhi Kitty parties, builders swindling young first home buyers, dirty politics, and some budding senior citizen romance as tadka for a wonderfully created dish.

Image source: Still from Sharmaji Namkeen.

This movie will go down in history for a few reasons. First, it is an awesome tribute to the Late Rishi Kapoor or Chintu Ji as his fans called the late actor. He will forever be remembered for his amazing spontaneity and jovial persona which is on full display in this movie! You will find many moments, mine were his “Baby Doll” dance and his first cooking job entry. Priceless! Secondly, for the unique experiment and/or experience of having the same role performed by two veteran actors – Rishi Kapoor and Paresh Rawal. Two different schools of actors come together to add flavor to the same role/dish. Kudos to Paresh Rawal for taking this up. His style is different and he could have independently done this movie too. However, trying to mimic Rishi Kapoor’s style is a tough act and one can see gaps there. In fact, this transition is the highlight of the movie and the audience looks forward to it.

Image source: Still from Sharmaji Namkeen.

According to me, it is immaterial beyond a point as this is an ode to the inimitable Chintu Ji! Personally, I also learned two things. First, the way to a woman’s heart is also through her stomach. – so it is not just the men! Secondly, movie making is not a sequential/serial process. While it appears very simple on-screen, you are cooking in the kitchen and then you step out to the balcony. From a film-making process, these are two different shooting schedules: one indoor (can be on film sets) and the second is outdoor (actual location). These are planned and executed differently. And this is quite evident when you see Rishi Kapoor in indoor scenes and Paresh Rawal in outdoor scenes. I am glad they chose to execute it with both actors, instead of redoing the entire movie. 

Image source: Late Rishi Kapoor’s last film project was Juhi Chawla-starrer Sharmaji Namkeen, directed by debutante Hitesh Bhatia – PR Handout.

Kudos to all the actors and writers for a wonderful performance. Supporting artists and actors have wonderful roles these days and each has packed in a solid performance.

While Rishi Kapoor and Paresh Rawal are truly namkeen in this film, Juhi Chawla brings in the charming sweetness in her role. The two sons played by Suhail Nayyar and Taaruk Raina make you feel at home (if you have grown-up kids). Gufi Paintal and Satish Kaushik are seen on screen after a long time.  

Image source: Still from Sharmaji Namkeen.

The writers Supratik Sen and Hitesh Bhatia have done a very good job. They have highlighted the common man and their problems, which is the real hero. Hitesh Bhatia is also the director of the movie. 

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Sharmaji Namkeen definitely gives both the audience and filmmakers food for thought. More power to such writers and directors to create such nutritious and essential dishes with the right garnishing (storytelling) to create such zesty food that suites the palette of the common man or woman! 


Contributing Author: Sanjiv Kulkarni is an ardent Indian cinema buff with an interest in the art of movie-making. He shares his take on movies and some rarer movies too. He lives in Melbourne and works as an IT Sales leader.

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