Kai Po Che
Director: Abhishek Kapoor
Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Rajkumar Yadav, Amit Sadh, Amrita Puri, Digvijay
Who says only the Bachchans, Kapoors, Roshans and Khans can mint money at the box office? You think that is a tall statement? Do take time out to watch Abhishek Kapoor’s Kai Po Che — a film guaranteed to win not only your heart, but also empty out pockets, for you would want to watch it again and again. It deservedly premiered at the World Panorama Section at the Berlin Film Festival recently and one must say, as the first- ever Indian film in that section, it sure is a good choice to open the innings.
Kai Po Che stays within the micro picture while painting the macro all around it, without losing out on its essence and humaneness. Essentially, it’s a film about three best friends Govind (Rajkumar Yadav), Omi (Amit Sadh) and Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput in a brilliant debut on the big screen) who stick it out with each other through good times and bad, personal and professional tensions and come out tops. Well, almost.
Set in the early years of the millennium, the film revolves around the lives of the trio — of whom Ishaan lives, breathes, eats and sleeps cricket and is obsessed with honing a god-gifted talent Ali Hashmi (Digvijay Deshmukh) into a national-level cricketer; Omi, the quiet, intense drifter who unwittingly grows into a politician’s sidekick; and Govind who, besides being a maths tutor to Ishaan’s younger sister Vidya (Amrita Puri) and her love interest, is a pucca Gujju businessman determined to outlast the odds.
The film, as the book it’s adapted from, Chetan Bhagat’s Three Mistakes of my Life, makes poignant references to the Gujarat earthquake in 2001 and riots post torching of the Sabarmati Express’ coach S6, relating them to the characters’ lives, weaving them into the plot so ingeniously that you can’t help but be moved as events unfold around their helpless selves.
Kai… is a rare combination in film work where every department delivers optimally — in acting, direction, seamless editing, art direction, invisible camerawork, dialogue, music, moving lyrics, playback and production. It marries subtle romance with finely etched evolution of individual characters and subliminally brings out emotions experienced by the pals who grow up — with and in spite of each other — with some help from reluctant and willing family members.
Sushant is a serious talent powerhouse whom Bollywood is beginning to acknowledge already. Here he is very ably supported by Rajkumar and Amit, both of whom create their own space masterfully and one cannot imagine anyone else playing their roles.
UTV’s role in backing diverse projects — from A Wednesday, Rowdy Rathore, Barfi to Khosla ka Ghosla,
Dev D and Rang De Basanti, is evidence that world-class scripts are being not only recognised at last in Bollywood’s firmament, but also being cleanly lapped and promoted correctly.
If Kapoor’s earlier outing Rock On was a film that found its niche in male bonding, Kai… takes it several notches higher. Double thumbs-up!