Movie Review: Kai Po Che

One scene towards the end depicts a gamut of emotions. There’s surprise, anger, betrayal, fear and also that instinct to help another human in need who is being hunted by a mob. All this happens within a span of a minute and every nuance of these emotions flow with absolute ease. So is this for real, or is it a movie?

Welcome to Kai Po Che, Abhishek Kapoor’s latest after a long hiatus. Abhishek wields the director’s baton like a magician’s wand to create something so real, so magical, so close to heart that in the end; you walk out in a daze. Just like Omi in the opening scene.

KPC leaves you with a mild dose of reality without really pounding you on the head. KPC is about dreams. It’s about human values. It’s about passion in a belief. It’s about political ‘stone’ heads. It’s also about nurturing a talent.

Adapted from Chetan Bhagat’s novel The Three Mistakes of My Life, Kai Po Che pulls you into its content from scene one. If the direction is spot-on, the casting is pure thrill; not a character out of place. Every situation, every frame is a joy in itself.

Take the scene where Ishaan and Govind walk out after a presentation at a school. While Govind, the hard-nosed businessman, is willing to compromise on price, Ishaan, plays hard-ball with the management. Up until now, Ishaan has portrayed himself as this guy who is not really interested in what his friends are up to. His sudden transformation and the jubilation by the two in the end is a scene painted beautifully.

Or take the scene where Govind is in an auto rickshaw with a hyper Vidya (Ishaan’s sister) who has just missed her periods. Or another scene where Bittu Mama pushes aside Rs 20,000 from the Rs 5 lakh the three friends owe him and says, “Rehne do. Baat paise ki nahi hai.” One can go on and on… Abhishek just scythes through every situation, every scene, with the grace of a Rahul Dravid in full flow.

You know it’s a director’s movie because not a character gets extra mileage. Each character is a hero on its own. But how they crystalize together on screen is what Abhishek’s brilliance is all about.

KPC is about three friends, Ishaan Bhatt (Sushant Singh Rajput), Omkar Shastri aka Omi (Amith Sadh) and Govind Patel (Raj Kumar Yadav). The year it begins in is 2000, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. All three have dreams to make it big. While Ishaan is licking his wounds of not having progressed beyond a certain stage in his cricketing ambitions, Govind and Omi are eager to start an enterprise of their own (a sports goods shop just near a temple).

They also have a sports training school in mind. Govind the ‘asli baniya’ works hard and keeps an account of every penny while Ishaan keeps busy watching cricket matches on television. Omi on the other hand, is active in getting finance for their ventures.

One person he goes to often is Bittu Mama (Manav Kaul), a local politician. Ultimately, Omi gets pulled into his fold as an active member.

Ishaan sights Ali, a precocious talent who smashes sixes at will. He undertakes the task of training him for a bigger stage but all that Ali is interested is in a goti (marbles) tournament.

Ali is now Ishaan’s focus. When the Bhuj earthquake strikes, cracks appear in their relationship as well. An impulsive character, Ishaan rubs his friends the wrong way. His intentions, however, are noble. But the Hindi Muslim divide has been witnessed and when the Godhra incident takes place, the aftermath is well-known.

Sushant Singh Rajput socks you with his flair for natural acting. He is amazingly confident with a towering screen presence. Raj Kumar Yadav has astounded us with his performances in Love Sex Aur Dhoka and more recently, Talaash. Here, he is in a zone of his own. Amit Sadh gets a meatier role and he makes the best of this opportunity. Body language does most of the talking for him.

Another gem is Manav Kaul as Bittu Mama. A crisp character scrubbed clean. Digvijay Deshmukh as this ‘goti playing, sixer hitting lad’ is terrific, while Amrita Puri is too real for comfort. Bored of mathematics, she ‘hits’ on her tutor and revels at a garba dance before hooking her brother’s best friend. Charming.

Kai Po Che is poetry in motion. After Rock On, Abhishek Kapoor has reminded us yet again, what a master storyteller he is.

Rating: 4.5 / 5
Martin D’Souza
This first appeared on on February 20, 2013

Leave a Reply