Kai Po Che – Movie Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on February 22, 2013 | No Comments
PRODUCER – Ronnie Screwvala, Siddharth Roy Kapur
DIRECTOR – Abhishek Kapoor
WRITER – Abhishek Kapoor, Chetan Bhagat, Pubali Chaudhuri, Supratik Sen
CAST – Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh, Raj Kumar Yadav, Amrita Puri
MUSIC –Amit Trivedi
This is not the first time the permanently-in-story-draught Bollywood has looked to Chetan Bhagat for ensured success. There was the tremendously successful ‘Three Idiots’(Five Point Someone) and the forgettable dud ‘Hello’ (One Night At A Call Centre). Now comes Kai Po Che based on ‘The Three Mistakes of My Life’. For Chetan Bhagat fans the film presents an exciting opportunity to engage with racy stories seeped in our everydayness.
For those not familiar with the book, it revolves around the friendship of the three boys in tumultuous times. Govind wants to become a successful business man, Ishaan, star cricketer of the town wants his protégé Ali to be an international level player and Omi is a confused, tag-a-long kinda chap. They get together and set up a sports equipment business combined with a cricket coaching club. There is a little bit of fate, a little bit of wrong connections and a little bit of personal agendas criss-crossing each other that sends their well-made plans into a tailspin.
The film borrows largely from the book except the climax and its structure. It has the three central characters of the book Govind (Raj Kumar Yadav), Omi (Amit Sadh) and Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput) with their backgrounds intact. Most of the book’s events find a place in the narrative with some major deviations as well especially in the climax.
The trump card of the film is the world of friendships and small dreams it creates. The middle-class mileu of Gujarat (the film, like the book, is entirely set in Gujarat) is authentically created in sets, clothing, mood and dialogue. The ethnic divisions are presented with a subtlety and the angst of youth is presented with heart and warmth.
A lot of credit to this goes to the brilliant performances of the three leading men especially Sushant Singh Rajput who plays his impulsive, hot-headed character with an effortlessness that completely belies his debut. Raj Kumar Yadav’s middle-class man with all its attendant character attributes is superbly portrayed with nuances, balance and an intuitive understanding. Amit Sadh as Omi plays his role with steadfast conviction but the writing lets him down, in as much that we aren’t able to lay a pulse on his weakness or strengths to make him real enough. Amrita Puri as Ishaan’s more balanced and independent-minded younger sister suits the role beautifully, fitting into the ordinariness of her surroundings yet attracting attention.
The film despite a refreshing aesthetic and energetic world is strung together with a loose screenplay. It does away with the books structure of three mistakes and amasses the events in a linear narrative. Yet, it leaves out an important peg to hinge the story on. Its set-up is weak and so is it climax, rendering the drama in between to an endless wait for something to happen. Despite the solid performances and strong bonding, we cannot look beyond the characters, into their inner selves. There is nothing beyond to look into.
Abhishek Kapoor’s direction shows an immense trust in his lead characters and a strong conviction. There is a distinct confidence in his story-telling especially the way he picturises Amit Trivedi’s delicious music. If only the writing hadn’t let him down, Kai Po Che wouldn’t just have been a good film, it would have been a great one.