Many other reviewers have already written at length about the bromance, the backdrop of Gujarat, and the two mammoth events that surround Abhishek Kapoor’s sophomore act – Kai Po Che . But it would be completely unfair if we were to sum up Kai Po Che with just that outline. Based on Chetan Bhagat’s Three Mistakes Of My Life, Kai Po Che offers so much more that even on my best attempt, I feel the inadequacy of my embrace. I have already attempted to write this review, and then had to re-write it a few more times. I found myself at loss of words when I tried to sum up my thoughts on a movie so rich, and profound, that it only led me to a never-ending sea of ideas that I kept rediscovering.
And then it struck me. Kai Po Che, is a movie about ambition, of dreams, and of lives strung together with those dreams. Simply put, the gist of Kai Po Che can be realised in its incredibly melodious theme tune – Manjha. It is about making far-fetched dreams come true, of taking control of ascending heights, and of the untangling of the complexities of relations. Kai Po Che takes us on this journey through its main protagonists, three friends – Omkar (Amit Sadh), Govind (Raj Kumar Yadav), and Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput).
Set in Ahmedabad in the wake of a new millenium, buzzing with urbanization, and a shining India, we are introduced to the ambitious Govi who wants to set up his sports shop business. His joint venture is funded by his politically connected friend Omi, and the “nikhhattu” Ishh. These three couldn’t have been more different from each other. Where Govi’s overall maturity in money-matters earns him the nickname “Baniya“, Ishh is clearly the group leader. He is the town hero, having been in the district cricket team. Omi is the follower, a sort of a silent spectator of the two. Kapoor effortlessly manages to build this bromance through scenes that can only be termed as a “slice of life”, rather than a well written page on a film script.
These three share the ambition of making Sabarmati Sports Shop the next big thing. And when Ishh discovers the miraculously talented Ali, he sees his unfulfilled dreams and wants them to be realised through Ali. Omi on the other hand, is on his journey to join his Mama-ji’s political party. Thrown in the mix are the two biggest events that happened in the history of the state – the 2001 Earthquake, and the 2002 Gujarat riots. How these events shape the future and the fate of these three “Brothers for Life” is what Kai Po Che is all about.
The Big Credits List:
Sushant Singh Rajput is an instant charmer. He lives the role of Ishaan completely. And even when he comes across as a complete tool, you cannot help but root for him. His relentless energy and enthusiasm to make Ali the next big star of cricket is heart-warming. And Rajput leaves no stones unturned in making the most out of his debut role.
In Raj Kumar Yadav, we get the anchor of the group. Govi is the glue that binds this volatile gang, and he is the one who requires the maturity to shoulder the responsibility of being the decision maker. Yadav’s straight-faced mannerisms translates that small-town guy character impeccably. To borrow the lyrics of Manjha (again),when you see Govi smile, it is like “barfile aankhon mein pighla sa dekhenge hum kal ka chehra“. [ In frozen cold eyes, we will see the melted face of the future].
My favourite of the bunch however, is surprisingly Amit Sadh as Omi. He is the silent spectator, but also has the innocence of a child. The decisions are already made for him. He is made to ask for money from his Mama-ji. He is made to join the political party. He is made to believe in the difference of “humare log” and “tumhare log”. He is also the one closer to Ishaan. And that’s why when Ishaan dedicates all of his time and energy in grooming Ali, Omi misses him.
And when Omi suffers from a family tragedy, his red-eyes emote the deep pain that is embedded in his silence. To be handed a gun under such circumstances, when you are even not done through mourning, is what makes Omi’s character the most conflicted. And Amit Sadh does an absolutely brilliant job at this.
In a movie that is overshadowed by its three male leads, the supporting act of the manipulative Bittu Mama played by Manav Kaul, stands tall. There is something so eerily calm and clean about his shaved face, that you can see him clearly in giant political campaign posters. The only female character in the story, Vidya (Ishaan’s sister) played by Amrita Puri, is a very confident character played equally well. But it is the young Digvijay Deshmukh as Ali who is the star of the supporting acts.
Trivedi’s score only makes me feel hungry for more. The sarangi on Manjha, the soft snare and cymbals on Meethi Boliyaan, and the traditional Gujarati folk instruments and shehnai on Shubharambh not only capture the ambience of the tale, but also narrate a story of their own. Hollywood has John Williams, we have Amit Trivedi. There, I said it.
FAVOURITE MOMENT: (Minor Spoiler)
After the earthquake incident, Ishaan and Omi are not on talking terms. It is India’s cricket match victory against Australia which re-unites the two. It is a moment of triumph, and possibly the peak point of this movie. Set to Amit Trivedi’s uplifting melody, it rocked me to the core. It also brings home the point of how influential cricket is in Indian life, and also brought back a surge of memories shared between friends – of cricket victories, of running down the mohalla with the tricolor, covered in gulaal, and of whistling and screaming our lungs out. Nostalgia can be such a bitch!
Dir. ABHISHEK KAPOOR:
Bromance is a familiar theme to Abhishek Kapoor, who in his National Award winning debut feature Rock On, introduced us to the world of four wannabe Mumbai rockers, and even made us believe that Arjun Rampal can act. [Also, have a look at this collage of Bollywood's most famous bromances of recent years]. With his second feature, Kapoor brings that familiar theme back, but the glossy red hues of Mumbai have been replaced. With a yellow palette that envelops Kai Po Che, Kapoor’s earthy tone tells the tale of its three leads so seamlessly. With help from an excellent technical department, the frames capture the golden sunsets as well as the horrors of a riot. And in the process, it leaves us uplifted, engrossed, confused, amazed, fulfilled, and often exhausted emotionally.
[GIFs Courtesy: FeedingMyObsessions]
Perhaps, I am a foodie, and hence, I cannot stop comparing great art with great food. Like a masterchef who knows the right proportion of cumin, chilly, and turmeric, Kapoor has concocted a delectable dish, that quenched my thirst, and satisfied my heart with a feast for the senses. It rinsed and stirred my soul, shaking me inside out, and left me with thoughts that kept lingering long after the movie concluded. Kai Po Che is a complete triumph.
OKS Rating: 5 Patangs Out of 5