Monday, March 4, 2013

KAI PO CHE - CINEMATIC BRILLIANCE



This post contains spoilers and is for only those who have already seen “Kai po che”.
When was the last time you actually marveled at what you are seeing on screen in a film? I experienced that moment of cinematic brilliance three days back while watching “Kai po che”.
This is not a review. It is a post which recollects those extraordinary moments of “Kai po che” which made me smile, cry and look up at Abhishek Kapoor in respect and awe. The initial frame of the movie where we witness a few sports events itself grips us, as if preparing us for what is going to follow. And so we have three friends – Ishaan Bhatt, Omi Shastri and Govind Patel who bond more than all the glues available in the world. They are the perfect trio which anyone can identify with. Infact their bond is much much better than what we saw in “Dil chahta hai” or even Abhishek’s last film “Rock on!”. Reason? These are much more realistic figures. While “Dil Chahta hai” had three friends who were rich enough to simply pack their bags and hop to Goa, “Kai po che” treats friendship differently. These guys cannot afford Goa. They are content with Diu. These guys cannot afford a luxurious open car. They are content with sitting in a stationary car being transported on a huge truck. These guys cannot afford jet skiing in the wonderful beaches of Goa, but they ensure that they have much more fun jumping off a cliff into the sea. Basically, they are someone we can relate to. And hence we laugh and guffaw when Govind is dragged to the edge of the cliff and made to jump.

We smile in melancholy as they goof around showing Govind a scantily clad woman, or when they move the roller on the cricket pitch kicking each other. Somewhere down we get nostalgic of our own set of such memories.

As the pujari’s son torn helplessly between friendship and family, Amit Sadh as Omi is simply superb. That particular expression on his face which he dons is just too good. He is happy but deep down there is something which doesn’t seem right to him. His transformation from a loyal friend to a violent rioter is something which makes us appreciate his acting. But the icing is his emotional scenes. There are hundreds of actors who ruin their entire act by a single crying scene, and then there’s Amit Sadh. The last scene in the cricket stadium where he breaks down in front of Vidya is something only classic actors can do. It is as is he was releasing the entire load of guilt within him since the day he accidentally shot Ishaan. Sheer brilliance!


Debutante Sushant Singh Rajput gets a role which justifies his talent to the utmost. Obviously this movie was supposed to be HIS launch vehicle. And Sushant grabs the opportunity and excels. Despite being a good for nothing fellow constantly scolded by his father, we immediately fall in love with him. He is the perfect Gujarati boy, who is immature to the level of physically hurting a small kid. But he tugs your heart as far as his nature is concerned. He hurts his sister by pulling her hair (A VERY ROUTINE ACT IN GUJARATI HOMES; FOR THAT MATTER BETWEEN EVERY BROTHER SISTER PAIR). But he values his friends above everyone.


Director Abhishek Kapoor makes a further masterstroke here. Instead of showing a strong bond between all three friends, he shows a more intense bond between Omi and Ishaan. Quite logical as Govind’s character is too quiet for such an intense show of friendship. And so when India wins against Australia and Ishaan runs out of his house, it seems only logical and right for him to go and hug Omi.

Inspite of the other two intense characters, ultimately it is Raj Kumar Yadav as Govind who impresses you the most. He is that archetype “BANIYA” who is more into money and “HISAAB”, a quality with which we Gujaratis are born! And when it comes to matters of money, friendship DOES take a backseat. So we have a totally quiet Govind who literally thrashes Ishaan post the earthquake. That doesn’t mean he cares less for his friends. That only means he cares more about his finances; about how they’ll repay mama’s loan. We have this hilarious scene where Ishaan and Omi hop on to the roof of the bus, but a scared Govind reaches them crawling on his knees.

And then there is the scene when he is jolted from his dream by the earthquake. He shows his true Gujarati nature by running to the mall. His breakdown on seeing the devastated mall is simply stunning. It is something we all experienced 12 years back. It is something which brought tears to our eyes.

The two major incidents – the earthquake and the riots are shown in a way like never before. While many films have tried to recreate such scenes and failed due to their filminess, “Kai po che” succeeds in making us go weak in the knees. Being a Gujarati, I was afraid that the scenes would affect the people of Gujarat in a bad way. I know it as I was in Bhuj that day when the earth shook. But “Kai po che” makes sure it does nothing of that sort and at the same time shows such real sequences of both the quake and the riots.


The music of the film is out of this world. It has been already proven that Amit Trivedi is a genius. The film has just three songs but every single minute of all three songs is a treat to watch, be it Maanjha or Shubhaarambh (placed perfectly in the movie) or Meethi boliyan where the three entertain us with their mad acts in the picturesque locations of Diu. Read my music review HERE The background score by Hitesh Sonik is another BIG plus point. The earthquake and riot scenes in particular have a haunting and effective score.
And finally there is Abhishek Kapoor – the man who is behind all these moments of cinematic brilliance. Through the entire two hours and six minutes of the film’s length, I never felt I was watching a film. It was as if I am present in the scene, standing with Govind, Omi and Ishaan, silently viewing what is going on. It was as if I was in Vadnagar watching Ishaan train Ali, or in Diu watching them jump in the sea or in the Hatkeshwar mandir watching Ish apologize to Omi.

Then there were those innumerable small scenes which made us nostalgic about our childhood. Playing cricket wearing slippers, dragging the bat deliberately along the ground making that noise, getting frustrated when someone repeatedly rapes your bowling with sixes. It was all real, nothing reel.
Ishaan pushing Ali to the ground and then going to his home to apologize on realizing his folly is something many of us would have done. Speaking of Ali, Digvijay Deshmukh as Ali is pefect. He has a heavy name for his age but he acts superbly.


Saving the phone number of that “special one” with a single alphabet (in this case “V”) is another very usual thing. The entire hesitant romantic track between Govind and Vidya is too good. As Vidya, Amrita Puri is cute and a delight. Prakruti ka sparsh, as I call her.


The climax is what escalates the movie to dizzying heights of awesomeness. If you look at it from a broad point of view, it would seem a usual climax. But there were two moments which defined the entire film for me – firstly the scene where Ali’s frightened father begs to Ishaan to save them. Right in the middle of the riots, when your life is at stake, you don’t see religion. And so we have a Muslim father begging a Hindu boy to save him and his son. His helplessness makes us wonder that what the world has come to. Ultimately we all are humans first. In the face of death, religion takes a backseat.

But the scene which was THE BEST in the entire movie was the finale where a “run amok” Omi has a gun in his hands and he shoots Ishaan by mistake. What follows next is pure cinematic magic. A dazed Govind runs towards Ishaan who just toppled down the stairs upside down. And a still “run amok” Omi rushes to him realizing what he has done. And we watch Ali’s father watching as Omi literally forgets the existence of Ali and his father and sees only Ishaan, wondering “Why isn’t he killing us? How come now he isn’t even noticing us?” Omi has forgotten what he had originally come for. He now sees only the lifeless Ishaan. That is when the tagline “BROTHERS FOR LIFE” became truly justified.

The final scene when Ali comes to bat is another superb one. He plays an exquisite shot on the offside and we watch an immensely delighted and jubiliated Ishaan lighting up the screen and our faces. And by the way, the young Ishaan shown in the end is Chetan Bhagat’s younger son with the same name.        

Thank you Abhishek Kapoor for “Kai po che”. Thank you for everything, be it the lighthouse at Diu, or the hatkeshwar mandir or the words Bhailu, Dapphol, and Ghelsappo, and for making a gem of a film like "KAI PO CHE."

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