Monday, March 04, 2013

Kai Po Che: A Review

Having read all of Chetan Bhagat’s four fictional novels till date and enjoyed the movie based on Five Point Someone and not even watched the movie based on One Night at the Call Centre, I approached this movie (based on The Three Mistakes of My Life) with a little trepidation.

Firstly, the movie had mostly newcomers with no star names to boast of. Secondly, its director – Abhishek Kapoor – had only one success to his credit – Rock On. And, thirdly, the movie was to be set in Ahmedabad (or, as the locals call it, Amdavad) and not some foreign locales or some exotic places in India.

The trailers looked promising and Swanand Kirkire’s lyrics, along with Amit Trivedi’s music, were a treat to listen to. As the movie’s release came closer and closer, I was interested to watch the movie the first weekend itself. In preparation, I did not read any reviews of the movie as I wanted to go with an open mind free of bias and prejudices.


I must say I enjoyed the movie. And so much that I did not mind catching it a second time the next weekend with my mom. The movie sticks as close to the book as possible considering Chetan Bhagat was also one of the scriptwriters.

The movie starts off slowly and builds up quite a pace till the interval. After the interval, the events unfold with speed and you are caught up in it like a whirlpool.

Three friends, in their early twenties, start a business in Ahmedabad. They open a shop selling sports equipments and also provide cricket coaching along with it. Govind, the money-minded friend who loves maths; Omkar, the simpleton who likes nothing better than to spend time with his friends and Ishaan, the friend who loves cricket and is an ex district level cricket player. Ishaan’s sister, Vidya, who hates maths, is coached by Govind who ends up falling in love with her.

Their business picks pace nicely and just when they think of expanding they are hit by the circumstances which took place in Ahmedabad in 2001-2002; from the earthquake to the riots following Godhra. The movie does not judge any of the events or the characters but only presents them as a sideline to the main story – the friends and their relations affected by the happenings.

Other characters in the movie include Omkar’s mama (mother’s brother) Bittoo who is actively involved in politics and wants Omi to get involved as well, Govind’s mother who earns a living selling snacks and Ishaan’s father who expects his son to start earning a living soon.

A young nine-year-old Ali also joins the coaching academy and Ishaan is excited at his cricketing prowess and feels he has the potential to make it big.

There are only three songs in the movie and none of them feel out of place. My favourite has to be Maanjha sung by Amit Trivedi.

For me, the most interesting part of the movie was the inter-personal relationships. The camaraderie between the three friends is the most obvious one. Ishaan and Omi are game to take risks and explore life while Govind is the more calculating one wanting to plan everything. He is also fond of money and wanting to strike it rich. His friends make fun of him for this. References such as “baniya” are peppered throughout the movie.

Govind’ relation with Vidya, Ishaan’s sister, starts out only as a teacher-student; however, it soon progresses into love. When Vidya asks him why she can not be his friend, he, like a typical Maths student, says I can give you four reasons – you are my brother’s sister, you are younger to me, you are my student and you are a girl.

Vidya’s relation with her brother is like a typical brother-sister relationship. She hates him for hogging the remote and not having the time to speak to her but she is equally concerned about his well-being and is proud of him for having made a mark in cricket.

Omi’s relation with Bittoo mama is functional at first; he has the deposit needed for the shop which the three friends need. However, later, as Omi starts working for the party and getting involved, the relation slowly changes to a mentor-protégé.

Ishaan’s relationship with the young Ali has been shown in an exceptional manner. He is impressed with the young lad Ali and wants to coach him to do better. However, he gets angry with him for not paying attention and Ali runs away from the field. Instantly, Ishaan feels sorry for his behaviour and goes to Ali’s house to apologize. When Ali starts performing brilliantly on the field under Ishaan’s coaching, Ishaan cannot help but feel proud.

I found myself smiling at quite a few scenes in the movie. When Omi and Ishaan ask Govind to dance with them when they go away for a Sunday; when Vidya tells Govind that Govind should take her to see the new shop at the mall first; when Omi and Ishaan hug each other after India’s victory after they have had an altercation earlier; when Govind sees Ishaan getting serious about a school presentation.

My verdict: Go see the movie and discover the scenes which make you smile. It is a beautiful tale of following your dreams, come what may, with your friends and discovering love in the process.

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