Movie Review : Kai Po Che

Kai Po Che
Rating : 3.8/5
Genre : Drama
Year : 2013
Running time : 2 hours 6 minutes
Director : Abhishek Kapoor
Cast : Sushant Singh Rajput, Rajkumar Yadav, Amrita Puri, Amit Sadh, Manav Kaul, Asif Basra
Kid rating : PG-13

Kai Po Che is a story of three friends . Old hat, you say, didn’t we already see that in Dil Chahta Hai , Rang De Basanti, 3 idiots and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara? Yes, you did. You did. But Kai Po Che is different, and frankly exceeded my expectations. Directed by Abhishek Kapoor (of “Rock On” fame) this movie is based upon Chetan Bhagat’s “The 3 Mistakes of My Life”.

Ishaan Bhatt (Sushant Singh Rajput), Govind Patel (Rajkumar Yadav) and Omkar Shastri (Amit Sadh) are fast friends, with dreams of breaking out of the stolid middle class they are born into. The brains of their operation (and their sports shop/coaching center) is the business-smart Govi. Omkar brings in financial help while high-strung Ishaan is the sportsman who helps run the coaching for budding athletes. Their friendship will be tested as political, moral and philosophical ideologies strive to pull them apart.

Kai Po Che is set against the backdrop of simmering religious tensions in Gujarat, and seems to naturally draw from the historical events of that time. Director Kapoor does a nice job of portraying middle class life, and gives believable flourishes even to the lesser characters. I enjoyed the look and the feel of the film – the locales, dialogues and sensibility of the film feels organic, and all the actors are well-cast.

Sushant Singh Rajput is well-known television actor and does well in his debut film, although there were certain moments where I thought he hammed it up a bit. He is good, but does seem a little frail for single-hero films. Amit Sadh also relatively new to films, plays the easily-swayed Omi. Nicely done! But the actor I was most impressed by was Rajkumar Yadav. We saw him last in Talaash, where he gave a subtle, measured performance as Amir’s second-in-command Devvrath Kulkarni, and in Gangs of Wasseypur I. Here, his role is of pacifier-in-chief. The dependable, responsible one of the three friends, it is up to him to steer the business and the friendship to clearer shores. Amrita Puri, as Ishaan’s sister, and Govi’s love-interest Vidya, is a delight to watch. She caps her fine performance in Aisha with an even more impressive performance here.

The film starts off slowly and quickly transitions to a flashback. I did think that the pace pre-halftime was a bit meandering. As tensions mount and the film hurtles towards surefire destruction – the religious riots are at their peak and our boys are caught in the thick of it – the pace picks up and you are engrossed.

Kai Po Che gives us a bit of everything – there is romance and rancor, friendship and hatred, emotional drama, song and dance. I did enjoy this entertaining film although it lacked a certain oomph. It felt like small-screen drama on the big-screen, like a very well-done television show. Still it is a clean, honest effort and a very worth-while watch. Recommended.

Kidwise : One of the few films without an item number – whew! Fairly clean as far as depictions of women/innuendo laden dialog is concerned. There are depictions of the Gujarat riots, men with swords rampaging and killing, religious hate speech. The film is probably safe for 13+ aged kids.

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