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‘Why should age become a deterrent?’: Boman Irani on ‘Uunchai’ and senior citizens travelling

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Sooraj Barjatya’s new release, Uunchai, stars Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani, and Anupam Kher as three senior citizens challenging themselves on a trek to the Everest Base Camp

Sooraj Barjatya’s new release, Uunchai, stars Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani, and Anupam Kher as three senior citizens challenging themselves on a trek to the Everest Base Camp

Uunchai, starring Amitabh Bachchan, 80, Boman Irani, 62, and Anupam Kher, 67, which was shot at14,000 ft in Nepal, is expected to encourage senior citizen travel. “It is not just a film about three old guys on a trek. Why should age become a deterrent? It is a film about changing and shaking up your stagnation and routine,” says Irani, for whom the shoot was like a boy scout holiday — a mix of fun and hard work.

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“We were staying in charming log houses in these remote villages and it felt like a picnic. We were all prepared for the hardship; we knew there would be lack of oxygen and trekking. But it didn’t bother us so much because we were having so much fun. We played board games and dumb charades. Plus, the beauty of the story that was being told made you feel proud and blessed to be part of it.”

A still from Uunchai, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Boman Irani and Anupam Kher
| Photo Credit: Special arrangement

A fun memory: “On this trip, people nicknamed me morning alarm. Because when I used to go in for a bath at -8 degrees, no matter how much you heat the water, it becomes ice cold again. One mug over my head and I would scream for the whole village to hear. Everybody knew ‘ Yeh Boman naha raha hai’.”

Fitness and training: “Because of the altitude, we had to acclimatise. So, the first two days would always be a little slower. Then the next day would be a longer walk of 10 or 12 kilometres. Gradually, we would walk about 15 kilometres a day, going up an incline and coming down. We didn’t train in Mumbai, but we all came back well-trained from the shoot.”

Director Sooraj Barjatya with Boman Irani on the sets of Uunchai

Director Sooraj Barjatya with Boman Irani on the sets of Uunchai
| Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Uunchai takeaway: “It is not just a film about three old guys on a trek. I don’t want to slot this film as we usually slot old people. Why should age become a deterrent? It is a film about changing and shaking up your stagnation and routine.

“The first takeaway is that there’s no timeline [that others have decided for you]. You make your own timeline. The second is friendship. If you’ve had any falling out, you have to rekindle those friendships because life’s too short.

“It is also about loyalty and paying homage to the people you love. There are so many themes in Uunchai that I can tell people will take away from it what they want to. The message is to do what you want to do and not let anybody tell you that you’re too old or too young to do it. Even youngsters can identify with this.”

Amitabh Bachchan and Danny Denzongpa in a still from Uunchai

Amitabh Bachchan and Danny Denzongpa in a still from Uunchai
| Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Watching Amitabh Bachchan at 80 shoot for Uunchai: “If there is a shot ready, before you can say Jack Robinson, Amitabh Bachchan has jumped up from his seat and gone to the mark. If it is a song that we are shooting, he will be watching the choreographer keenly to make sure he doesn’t put a foot wrong. His whole focus is on that shot. It is an incredible energy. Watching him rehearse and doing his thing is an inspiration.”

The writer is the co-founder of Silver Talkies, a social enterprise for 55+, and co-author of Rethink Ageing .



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