Karan Razdan has earned himself a rather sleazy reputation with unpopular films like Hawas and Gilfriend. In the past month alone heâ€™s had three releases: Souten, Eight Shani, and Umar. However, Umar is a rather surprising turnaround from his previous flicks â€“ a very pleasant surprise.
Umar tells the story of three senior citizens (Prem Chopra, Satish Kaushik, and Kader Khan), who have been rather rudely ignored by their families (a la Baghban). Bound by a deep and sacrificial friendship, these three aging men meet Shashank (Jimmy Shergill), an exchange student from India who comes to London for further studies. The three men find a loving son in Shashank as their growing love for one another is soon tested by a bizarre twist in a rather simple story.
Razdan succeeds in coming up with a script that is true to life and innocent in nature. The script is an intelligent one that could have been easily butchered by a novice director. Fortunately, Umar strays from the common clichĂ©s that flood similar stories that deal with crime drama. Additionally, the flowing pace makes for an entertaining drama/thriller.
However, the relationship between the three elderly men and their families was a bit exaggerated. But this can be over looked, as it is evident that Razdan is trying to make a point through these personal interactions. One Bollywood clichĂ© this film was unable to escape was the fact that while in London, the Indina population seemed to miraculously be showing up behind every desk, in every police uniform, and even behind bar counters!
One major plus point is Karan Razdanâ€™s dialogue and screenplay. For example, the scene where the three old men are running from the villain. They decided to simply fall when they heard the shots fire, creating the illusion that they had died. This is a clever little tactic that surprisingly hasnâ€™t shown up in many other screenplays. The exemplary dialogues were portrayed utterly well in the scene where Shashank confronts a man who is trying to cheat the Group Home. This is one of those scenes where you expect the entire audience to give an ovation at the end. Aatish Parmarâ€™s cinematography is a major plus as he captures the vivid landscapes of London with a fresh lens, further augmenting the experience.
Apart from hard-hitting lines, Razdan directs a marvelous cast; with the lead cast giving commendable performances. Kadar Khan has been missing from the industry as of late but makes a hearty appearance in Umar. He portrays his lonely life very well and his moment of glory comes during his outburst in the social security office; where he was being attacked by racial prejudice. Prem Chopra gives a convincing performance as the father who is being taken advantage of by his children. His presence is most felt during the scene where his own son raises his hand on him. Satish Kaushik (as Rajpal Singh) gives arguably the best performance of the three, as he returns to his subtle comedic ways. However, he too plays the role of a neglected father who has been called to London by his son simply as a servant whom he doesnâ€™t have to pay! Yet, Satish Kaushik supplies beautiful comic relief to the film with some hilarious linesâ€¦Sample: Rajpal Singh: You want to eat jhaapad?
Vik: Yes yes. Iâ€™m very hungry
Vik: Where are you taking me?
Rajpal Singh: We are going to rape you
Vik: No no please! Rape my father. Heâ€™s behind all of this.
Rajpal Singh: Hm. Where is your father?
However, the man who deserves most credit is the much-underrated Jimmy Shergill. After a mesmerizing performance in last yearâ€™s forgotten treasure, Yahaan, Shergill delivers once again (though not to the extent he did in Yahaa). Itâ€™s already been six years since heâ€™s been a part of this industry. Where has the time gone? And he still has yet to be recognized for his immaculate performances. Nonetheless, his innocent charm, taut mannerisms, and smooth dialogue deliveries compliment Razdanâ€™s direction. Itâ€™s only a matter of time before Shergill breaks through the Bollywood crowd.
All in all, Umar is a solid film and a break from some of the lackluster comedies that are opening every single week. The film deserves an honest sitting before being rejected due to the directorâ€™s poor reputation. Itâ€™s a good film in deed!