By Joginder Tuteja
Film: "Morning Walk"; Director: Arup Dutta; Cast: Anupam Kher, Sharmila Tagore, Rajit Kapoor, Divya Dutta, Nargis, Shayan Munshi and Avika Gor; Rating: **
The first thing that goes against this film is its title. Frankly, a title like "Morning Walk" with a plot revolving around senior citizens, has every chance of alienating a large segment of the audience. Also, the film's release is a little ill-timed. Arriving at theatres when there is a plethora of new releases, "Morning Walk" can't be expected to entice audiences enough.
What one gets to see is a tale that immediately reminds one of the 1980s. Of course the makers may argue that the emotions have remained the same for generations, let alone just a couple of decades.
But at the end of the day, audiences look for entertainment in whatever shape or format it is served. And that is not really the high point of "Morning Walk".
What is further surprising is that the entire angle of Anupam Kher, his one-time beloved Sharmila Tagore and her daughter Nargis is straight out of a lesser known film called "Lovesongs - Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow".
You can't be blamed if you haven't even heard about this English film starring Om Puri and Jaya Bachchan. It was one of films that did really badly in 2008.
That film too saw its lead protagonists accidentally meeting after decades with a revival of bond between them. The film was an exhausting tale that read like a chapter in the life of a woman who had seen major lows in her life and had come out mentally stronger.
In case of "Morning Walk", the story is told from the point of view of a man. Yes, the storyline is predictable but it is the performances that keep the film afloat to an extent. Of course that's something which is expected when a filmmaker manages to rope in veterans like Anupam Kher and Sharmila Tagore.
Meanwhile Divya Dutta, who plays Anupam Kher's daughter-in-law, bags one of the meatiest roles of her career. Some of the better scenes in the film are reserved for her. As for Rajit Kapoor, a regular with Shyam Benegal, he plays his part of Kher's son mechanically.
Shayan Munshi may not be the most pivotal part of "Morning Walk" but thankfully perks up the proceedings every time he comes on screen. He carries forward his 'Mr. Nice Boy' image - something that he has built from his "Jhankaar Beats" days.
Actress Nargis, whose claim to fame has been "Garam Masala" opposite Akshay Kumar, settles down for a lesser part in "Morning Walk".
All in all, the film is a regular family drama, something that may have worked 20 years back. But in today's time when there are 100 entertainment channels airing 500 daily soaps with 80 percent of them taking a sneak-peak into a regular Indian household, it is expecting too much from audiences to step out of their living rooms and spend money to watch "Morning Walk" in theatres.