‘I have cut the kite!’
The last few years India has been quite addicted to growth and I do not state that sarcastically. Business and trade have been flourishing (and shrinking) at an exponential rate which I can’t say is good or bad – but just a fact. On a back drop like that, Abhishek Kapoor made a film – Kai Po Che! And its not me giving that exclamation.
An adaptation of the famous Indian book, “Three mistakes of my life” by Chetan Bhagat which is based on three friends, Ishaan, Govind, Omi while the story is narrated by Govind. The novel was a huge hit in the country, mostly because of Chetan Bhagat’s “unconventional” and “cool” style of telling a story, with all the dramatization and unashamed clumsiness included that makes it easier for the Indian audience to relate. His other books include “Five point someone” on which the super-hit Bollywood film “3 Idiots” is loosely based. And then there is “One night at the call center”, a Salman Khan starred film “Hello” took the rights and made a disastrous film out of the almost calamitous book. Recently in 2009, he wrote “2 states – the story of my marriage” which again was a hit in the book stores, whose rights Sajid Nadiadwala has already brought. I wonder what tragedy would that be. But, then I don’t want to judgemental, so I’ll leave it to Chetan Bhagat’s unremitting luck. “Three mistakes of my life” is perhaps the only book he wrote that doesn’t make the protagonist look all brilliant, successful & modest – I am glad Abhishek Kapoor chose this.
Its good – ‘Kai Po Che!’. I liked the characterization. Three friends in love with each other, buddies since they were ‘sperms’ – as Ishaan’s sister, Vidya says. A former cricket champion in the district level, who watches matches after matches, all day long apart from being a severe disappointment to his widowed father, Ishaan is a talented, moody, impulsive and irresponsible but a man of word. A high spirited and passionate young man, whose strength lies in his ability to live in the moment while his weakness is that easily triggered temper. But he isn’t stubborn. Infact – Ishaan is understanding and forgiving – somebody who values relationships and doesn’t mind forgetting bitter memories of the past if that means saving one.
Then there is Govind, enacted by Raj Kumar Yadav, the famous – Shamshad alam after GOW success. He is a calculative, calm, responsible and an aspiring businessman who is reserved and shy, not as good as handling relationships like Ishaan but definitely a more balanced person and emotionally composed. I liked the portrayal of his character the most. One reason because, it was most explicitly explained. Other characters revolve around friendship and cricket, but we get to know more about Govind’s personal life through the film than just his friends.
Omi is the son of a temple pandit and maternal nephew of a Hindu conservative politician. More of a dumb guy – not useless, but like one of those unintelligent friends who nod to everything and become the best company ever. Omi adored his friends but had a softer corner for Ishaan. He worshipped Ishaan’s talent and trusted him more than anybody else. And that – made him special.
Then there is Vidya. I don’t really need to mention her. Not a very significant character to the plot, but definitely provides a lighter mood to the film, something which you will not only notice but also appreciate.
So, what do we have here? An ex district player who has a quick temper, a gullible son from a Hindu conservative family and a lower middle class but sharp young man who aspires to “achieve” in life. Together, with Govind’s brains, Ishaan’s associated credibility with cricket and Omi’s uncle to fund them – the three friends open a sports shop with a cricket field adjacent to it to encourage training for school boys in the locality. Business starts steadily: Govind is hopeful, Omi is happy and Ishaan has finally something significant to do.
Enters Ali. A 9-11 year old boy whose sharp, hyper reflexes and constant excellence as a batsman attracts Ishaan’s attention. He swears to train the boy and make him the best in the field. But Ali is the son of a Muslim party leader, who is a liberal but knows that Omi’s uncle and his party are intolerant to Muslims. Reluctant in the beginning but motivated by Ishaan’s ability to convince, he allows Ali to be trained under his guidance.
Then there are ups and downs, in friendship, relationships and then in the country. First, the earthquake, that destroys their prospect of having a shop in the mall with the additional loss of 5 lakhs borrowed from Omi’s uncle. Then, the horrific tale of Gujrat riots begin starting with the “Ayodhya train accident” where two bogies were set on fire that burnt hundreds of innocents alive, most of them hindus. And everything that was ever normal, taken for granted and there without a doubt – flips.
Don’t worry. I don’t give away spoilers. All I can say is that people who have read “Three mistakes of my life” might be surprised in the end and try to remember what exactly happened in the book. But that’s not what I want to concentrate on.
I think it could have been better – the climax. It was actually – amazing, the way it was finishing. But right before it ends, with a sudden flash-forward that seemed like it wanted to end as soon as possible, I felt as if it was too hurriedly done with. Maybe with some nice narration or not, ample time could have been provided to the ending sequence. I believe, the effect of the climax would have still stayed, much stronger indeed.
What about them? Sushant Singh Rajput and Raj Kumar Yadav were excellent. Amit Sadh too was commendable. Together, the chemistry worked on screen, making you smile at various scenes. Amrita Puri was a delight, with her bubbly, straight forward and comely portrayal of a modern day Indian girl in a typically desi atmosphere. I have seen better child actors than Digvijay Deshmukh but I guess Abhishek Kapoor managed to keep his “onscreen acting” to minimum. I also think they did not work much on Ali and Ishaan’s relationship. But then, that’s not really noticeable.
Lastly, I would like to take another paragraph and one more minute of your time to praise Amit Trivedi. The music did most of the work. If you loved the film, remember without Mr. Trivedi you might be having second thoughts now. I better not forget to mention Swanand Kirkire’s simple and beautiful lyrics that went so perfectly in sync with the endearing soundtrack. My personal favourite is Manja, which I find very inspiring. I also liked Meethi Boliyaan, sung again by Amit Trivedi and Mili Nair. Actually, I can’t stop listening to Shubharambh too – love the shehnai and the garba feel to it. So, basically, I like them all.
It is a good watch. Really Good.
PS – And it is absolutely impossible to not notice how HOT Sushant Rajput is.