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One for the Generation

  • Ankur Pathak

    Ankur Pathak (50 DM Points)

    Desimartini | Updated - October 26, 2013 5:41 AM IST
    4.0DM (2283 ratings)

    Verdict - A masterpiece that captures the youthful idealism, and turbulence with equal measure.

    Kai Po CheWatch trailerRelease date : February 22, 2013

    Kai Po Che is not a film which has three dudes going on a road-trip to the nearest coast (one that's not as dirty as Mumbai's), and coming back drastically evolved; or about three affluent men on a life-altering road-trip where issues such as marriage and living-out-of-the-box-is-the-way-boye are sorted. But it is a film that feels frighteningly real. And what feels real is never aspirational.

    In fact, Kapoor and his script-writers put their trio of leads in conflicts that are both: natural disasters beyond their control and the ones that give the leverage of choice. It may not always be an easy one. But there is always a moment's thought before asserting the trigger. "Govind, Ishaan and Omi - the three heroes of the picture; no wait a minute, they are everything but heroes. These are flawed individuals who are at odds with each other; almost as much as they are in sync. The three, soaked in the carefree abandon of the youth wake up to ground realities and their ambitions begin to drive their thought-process. Govind is the quintessential businessmen who'd think of discounts only when the gain is long-term; Ishaan is the talented district-level cricketer who finds a prodigy: essentially someone in who he sees his own reflection and the success of this little chap becomes the motive of his own life; while Omi is the one with an unreasonable amount of turbulence. His internal conflict is that of a complex ideology, while the external factors only make it worse. The tension is not just communal; but monetary attachments add fuel to the friction as much as they help in facilitating everyday business.

    A whole reason why the film feels so emotionally overwhelming is the robust camaraderie Kapoor brings on screen which never at all feels rehearsed or pre-written. The conversations epitomize every-day chatter while no propagandist or nationalistic lines are yelled to assert one's ideology. Restrain is the superstar here and not a lot of flash-bulbs are chasing it. It plays out with a carefully constructed, minimalist charm that is as smooth as the pleasant color of the film.

    The symbolism is astonishingly affecting - one scene involves Ishaan walking in Govind's class and erasing the board to chalk out Ali's batting chart. In a way it reflects where Ali's real talent and focus really lies, and what kind of education he ideally should receive. "While the eye-pleasing hues in its moody photography oddly work, almost in a mystical way, Kai Po Che is not an easy film to watch. Its emotional depth leads you closer to the actuality of a country that is populated with a thunderously ambitious youth but the gap between their aspirations and reality is widened because of scheming politicians who are creating communal disturbance.

    Make no mistake. Kai Po chronicles through tragic real life occurrences that built up an unusually powerful context where the spirited friendship of three youngsters is assessed on a keener level than most films manage to do. This is not a film that merely scratches the surface but digs it with prickly claws. The result is a testament of the very idea on which the relationships are forged - trust, commitment, forgiveness and an unrelenting zeal brimming out from each of the three.

    It helps substantially if the three actors are excellent in their respective parts. Sushant Singh Rajput's does a terrific act hiding vulnerability with his exhilarating confidence, while the complexities are addressed with great sensitivity by Amit Sadh who makes Omi a three-dimensional character. Govind, the protagonist in Bhagat's book on which the film is based is played by Raj Kumar and the actor again impresses with his naturalism - one that makes us believe that he in real life must be a Govind. The credit belongs to Abhishek Kapoor who is able to extract such nuanced performances from a bunch of relative newcomers.

    Every film has a generation. Every generation has a film. Although set in the previous decade, Kai Po Che belongs to us and to every young stalwart on the streets of Ahmadabad and Mumbai and other cities where ambitions are usually in conflict with prevailing reality; yet we strive to cut the threads of obstacles, and develop enough valor to jump from the shaky fort into the sea full of possibilities.

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