Sunday, 24 February 2013

Review Kai Po Che! The Politics of Friendship

Director  Abhishek Kapoor

Starring  Raj Kumar Yadav, Amit Sadh, Sushant Singh Rajput, Amrita Puri, Manav Kaul

This is the third outing of Gattu, Abhishek Kapoor. First was highly forgettable (had forgotten it totally) Aryan, the second was Rock On which I loved, and thought what a gutsy casting with Farhan Akhtar also singing the tracks, and Arjun Rampal, who had never impressed me for his acting, but in this film, AK made him human. The film had a lot to offer for us looking for freshness and some more sensibility in our films.

Kai Po Che, based on Chetan Bhagat's The 3 Mistakes Of My Life firmly entrenches Abhishek Kapoor as one of the better talents we have today and who will now go on to make many more films. I am not going to compare the two, as I am going to see this as a stand alone film experience.

To pick up a story like this, cast new comers, take a stand and make it the way you envision it as a director, credit is due. We are living in disturbed times, politics has become a sinister word, and people are clamoring to be seen as moderates, without taking any stand, shying away from the truth that is staring at us in the face. The Hindu Muslim divide is widening, instead of closing up. All of course fanned more by the politicians of the country.

This therefore is a very very relevant film. The Godhra carnage and post Godhra riots, which write the crux of this film, are still scars that refuse to heal. DO we need to keep re-visiting Gujarat, YES we do. Now more than ever.

Cricket and Religion, friendship and love, bonds that tie us and the pain when they are cut loose, Kai Po Che (meaning "I have Cut" in Kite flying parlance) is a film that looks into all this, sometimes hitting hard, sometimes a bit haltingly, but never letting go.

Omi (Amit Sadh), Govind (Raj Kumar Yadav) and Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput) are brothers from different mothers. They share their passion for cricket and dreams. Omi is that friend we all have who will actively support your pro-active decisions. Laid back, yet something simmering always behind his sad, soulful eyes. Ishaan is the hot blood, who has lost out on big league cricket but burns bright with passion for the game. Govind is the moderate India, sensible, focused on earning the bread through honesty and hard work. His world is about numbers.

He spearheads their leap into setting up a sports shop cum cricket training academy. All is golden and happy and Shubharambh plays as they find the path to success. It seems that they will now never look back, as they somehow manage to get a shining shop in an upcoming mall.

This is when calamity strikes, and from then on it's life that happens when they are busy making their own plans. Friendship is put to test, as Ishaan is fully committed to Ali, a child prodigy who can strike sixes off any ball you send his way. He wants to ensure he gets a future which Ishaan could not, and his religion is only cricket.

But Godhra changes it all. Omi is drawn to politics in a way he had never imagined. Govind is torn between two friends, between his right hand and left. What will become of these 3 lives, is what the film will tell you in a very moving, exciting, loving, passionate way.

The acting is superlative, with Raj Kumar Yadav shining in the toughest role to play, Sushant makes a pitch perfect debut, and looks every bit the part, Amit Sadh, god bless him, who has gone through a lot of upheaval in his life, his eyes alone can make you feel everything that goes inside his heart, though I wish he was given more to do. Kudos to Abhishek Kapoor for taking these three. They become Govind, Ishaan and Omi. Amrita Puri works breezily in her role as Ishaan's bubbly sister who falls in love with Govind. Great Chemistry between Raj Kumar and her. I particularly loved their moments together. Then there is Manav Kaul as the Hindu Party Politician, just about adequate, not impressed.

On pace, the film is stretched in the first half and the real drama unfolds post interval. Despite adequate time given to the "setting-up", I still felt I have not seen their bonding and friendship at its best. One drunken trip was not enough. But I am letting that pass.

There are so many good reasons to watch this film, I do not think anybody will come out without a piece of the film that plays on their mind.

The music. Yes, I feel the music by Amit (Genius) Trivedi is the soul of this film. Manja holds some very important moments together, and manipulates your heart strings into walking on the beat of the director's vision.

The cinematography is commendable, from catching the flickering divas to the all destroying Earthquake in just the right way.

Eventually it all comes down to the script and Direction. Where script loses steam, the director could have made it smoother, and for those who have read the book, there are some surprises in store.

All in all a film that satisfied me in the end, and made me excited to be in these times of new stories and newer ways of telling them. Made from the heart, its Abhishek's labour of love and persistence.

You still reading? Go watch. I was going to go with 3 stars, but today morning when it was still playing on my mind and making me think beyond the film... here goes.

My Rating 3.5/5

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