Monday, March 4, 2013

Kai Po Che

Unfavorable incidents, religion or culture of India influencing young minds formed the concept of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti, where the British girl says, “India se pehli nazar me hi pyaar ho jaata hain” (You fall in love with India at its first sight). From the same production house came Kai Po Che where director Abhishek Kapoor, after an uber cool Rock On, portrays a similar, in fact more rustic, India for us.

Mehra’s India was the urban capital of our country with a bigger picture of friendship; Kapoor takes us to a more relatable one in a smaller town of Ahemdabad as created by Chetan Bhagat in his novel The 3 Mistakes of My Life of which this film is an adaptation. Bhagat, who is constantly criticized by lit-geeks, is no less than an icon for pop culture of this country; a reason that makes Bollywood directors find their script material in all his books.

Set at the dawn of millennium when malls were ready to boom in every city, dreams were growing bigger, as in this film a new journey for young Ali began… from goti to cricket. Early 2000s were meant to bring change, risking everything. It was a great tussle between aspirations v/s reality. And that’s what is fused into the conflicting emotions of the lead characters of this film: Ishaan’s dream of tutoring sports selflessly against Omi being drawn back to work for right-wing Hindu party or Govind’s muddling “mathematics”; choice between a rugged shop near temple ground or a stinky one in the mall or a ‘new millennium sophisticated’ one with glass windows and a three seater couch to watch cricket matches giving complete feel of a stadium.

These could be any three friends from a small town whose emotional bonding is much more like brotherhood than a typical friendship as palpable from the way they talk and enjoy their moments- whether jumping into water or reuniting after a tiff while celebrating India’s cricket victory. And each of these moments are filled with magical melodies of Amit Trivedi to uplift your spirit, making you a part of them. 

(Spoiler alert)

In a metaphorical scene during the end of the film that explains the film, we see Omi and Govind meet at a cricket stadium, to see Ali playing his debut international match, in a room recreated exactly as Ishaan had dreamt of their sports store. And, it’s very disturbing to see only two cushions kept on the three seats now. This arc was initiated back when Ishaan and Ali together beat Omi and Govind in a kite-flying competition during the uttarayan festival to resonate their tonsils yelling “Kai Po Che!”
 (Spoiler over)
Their stories may belong to a microcosmic dreamy world but are largely affected by the natural or political catastrophes that took place in early 2000s Gujarat that may worry you, comfortably. And, you would identify them saying, “Yes, they could be one of us.”
Kai Po Che is about dreaming and realizing, dreams that exist in real India, a fictional yet possible story coming out of the real India.

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