If there’s one thing that Abhishek Kapoor is known for, it’s the strong undertone of friendship in his films. His first, ‘Rock On!’, centred around friendship and music; his second, Kai Po Che — adapted from a novel by Chetan Bhagat — is based largely on friendship against the backdrop of Gujarat.
The film-maker says that adapting the novel into a screenplay was quite a long process. “It took us about 20 drafts. We based the story on these three characters but initially, we moved away from the book. The film was evolving into something else — new scenes came in and there is a lot in the book that we have not shown or depicted differently. We have given the author his due credit, though; it was a creative call from my team,” he explains.
He is quick to add that the title of the film is actually a victory call. “It is metaphorical and suits the story. The film has elements of fun,” he says. The project has been shot predominantly in Gujarat, as well as a few other places like Delhi, Pune and Ahmedabad. “The novel has a bit of the Gujarat riots and yes, we have shown it — but I have done my bit to be sensible with those scenes,” he explains.
“The actors in the film may be fresh, but they are extremely professional. They did not have to be trained, as all of them know the nuances of this field. In the end, it is about team work — and everyone has put a lot of effort into making the film. There have been times when the crew had to work in soaring temperatures — such as 48 to 50 degrees — in Gujarat. Having fun in such adverse situations, when you are not enjoying the process, is difficult. But the pain was converted into fun,” he adds.
The director explains that the film has Indian sensibilities and is clear about its roots. “It’s an Indian film and shows the real side of the country. I tried to showcase the middle class and their problems. The characters are very reactive — there is a raw energy in them and their ambitions are high. The film has few songs and the focus is on the screenplay,” he shares.
It is quite apparent that his protagonists get on with each other quite well. Abhishek reveals that the boys have bonded and that comes out in the film. He asserts that every director is different and has his or her own style. “I feel that every director treats his film in a very different manner. The previous film on a Chetan Bhagat novel was told in its own way; we think of our subjects in our own style,” he concludes.