Mumbai, 13 Dec 2019 12:03 IST
Ajay Phansekar's Senior Citizen lacks both a grounded story and proper focus, resulting in unconvincing performances on the screen.
When a 75-year-old man opens the film by running faster and looking fitter than Salman Khan and proceeds to punch out the bad guys like the Dabangg (2010) star, you expect the film to be mass entertainer or a comedy. Ajay Phansekar's Senior Citizen is neither. Nor does it do a good job of what it pretends to be.
Major General (retd) Abhay Deshpande (Mohan Joshi) is a spry 75-year-old 'serious' citizen who can still punch the daylights out of goons. When his close friend and neighbour is killed by land-grabbers, Deshpande's zeal for protection reaches fever pitch.
It would have been interesting if Phansekar had kept this the sole objective of his film. But he experiments with too many angles and story devices simply dilute any semblance of a social message that was present in the film.
Another big issue is the portrayal of the youth as a generation of drug-addled petty losers. At a time when students are leading revolutions from Chile to Hong Kong and Aarey to JNU and Assam, that is simply unrealistic. It is the labelling of an entire generation based on a small sample.
The narrative keeps shifting between the threat of the land-grabbers, the drug addiction of a young girl Saumya (Sneha Chavan), and Deshpande's own growing fears with such speed that it becomes a random collection of incidents.
If the narrative is confused, the characters are etched sketchily and without conviction. All of them act according to their own reasons and whims that often have no deeper purpose than to deliver a 'social message'. With little conviction present in the characters, the message comes across as preachy. One of those is the showcasing of Deshpande's 'legacy' room of awards, and a Chhatrapati Shivaji statue that serves as the key element in a confused, haphazard climax at the end.
The presence of Mohan Joshi does not help the film in any way. The actor appears his age, but is forced to play a spry old man who can do battle. He is accompanied by Smita Jaykar as his wife, a character who adds a little background to the story, but to no effect. Both artistes are wasted in parts that are wafer-thin.
The other characters, ocassionally offering humour, fail to lift the plot in any way. The intervening songs also drag the drifting plot down and make it even more difficult to keep up with the story.
With a rise in interesting content across regional cinema, this Senior Citizen looks like a story that is well past its expiry date.
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