Movie: Club 60
Director: Sanjay Tripathy
Cast: Farooq Shaikh,Sarika,Raghubir Yadav,Satish Shah,Tinnu Anand,Sharat Saxena,Vineet Kumar,Himani Shivpuri,Zarina Wahab
The loss of life is a devastating thing. When a doctor couple lose their only child,they relocate to Mumbai,leaving behind their cosy life in Pune. Club 60 tells their story,and in its better parts,the film turns universal,becoming our story.
Tareek Shaikh (Farooq) and Saayra (Sarika) flee their quiet town to drown their sorrows in the bustle of a busy metropolis. He is broken,unable to come to terms with the senseless death of a young son who was about to step into his prime in faraway US. She holds her grief within,and tries to get on with life.
Just for the creation of this pair,Club 60 needs to be commended. Bollywood has done poorly by its senior citizens: the spectrum of the middle-aged,the elderly,and the old is huge,and our films usually have no idea what to do with characters that fall within,even if they do have a part for them in the first place.
An encounter with the annoyingly cheerful,wont-take-no-for-an answer Mannubhai Shah (Yadav),propels a reluctant Tareek into a group of 60-pluses,which meets every morning at the club for a game of tennis. Theres the stingy-from-the-top-but-a-softie-within Mansukhani (Shah),the wind-breaking Zafar (Anand),the lonely Dhillon (Saxena),and a bad-joke-loving retired income-tax commissioner (Kumar).
The banter between these old friends is real,if stodgy and repetitive: the film could have done with some pruning. The characters are played by actors good enough to escape their stereotypes (the miserly Sindhi broker,the Gujjubhai with an accent,a hearty beauty who fake-flirts) when given a chance,and there are sequences in the film,which manage to do this successfully. Yadavs T-shirts,with their legends (I Have Sex Only On Days That Start With T) are a hoot; his hobby of collecting strange-looking wind-pipes gives him some heft,and he plays it like he knows and likes the instrument.
The other oldies are given some interesting things to do,too. Saxena has a brief encounter with a good-time girl (yes,people in their 60s also have a sex drive),Shahs desire for a drink after a humiliating episode has nothing to do with his age: these are people and they are living their life.
But the film is marred by not knowing when to stop. Theres a lovely climactic moment involving Tareek and Saayra beyond which the film is dragged just to get us to leave teary-eyed. Some of the characters are given sad back-stories (one featuring the graceful Zarina Wahab in a wheelchair),which feel needlessly manipulative: more adept direction would have done without the over-statement.
Still,I would recommend Club 60 because it brings into the frame an age group euphemistically called the silvers,and by touching a chord with its performances. Farooq Shaikh is as solid as ever. And he is given company by the lovely Sarika,who locks into her role with a terrific wet-eyed moment. She keeps him and the film going.