Starring: Raj Kumar Yadav, Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh, Amrita Puri, Digvijay Deshmukh, Manav Kaul
Directed by Abhishek Kapoor
Judge it on the parameter of the time-honoured cliches of Hindi cinema—there are enough strewn in Kai Po Che to rile and irritate you. In fact, broad brushstrokes hit you right from the start—the quintessentially Bollywoodian ‘coming out of the jail’ sequence—to the ‘tie up all the loose strands’ ‘all’s well that ends well’ resolution. From the lust and longing in the dandiyas to the ‘Hindu’ saffron and the ‘Muslim’ green. But somewhere Abhishek Kapoor’s film manages to find its own distinct voice beyond these general simplifications. Primarily, because it builds well on the relationship of its three lead characters.
Yes, it is about spontaneity, fun, jokes, irreverence and banter—quite like a DCH, RDB or Rock On. But there’s substantially more. Through Govind-Ishan-Omi, the film affectingly portrays what for many of us was one of life’s most central experiences: of friendships torn asunder by ideologies, of negotiating friendships while keeping politics at bay and standing by your non-negotiable beliefs while keeping friendships at a distance.
Things unfold against the backdrop of contemporary Gujarat. Although names and parties are not mentioned outright, it’s hard not to figure things out—unless one is Goodbye Lenin’s coma-struck Mother. Kapoor is not concerned with hardcore politics here. The focus is not on Modi, Godhra, or the quake, but the implications of political events in the personal space.
The backbone is the great casting by Mukesh Chhabra. Each of the handpicked actors becomes the character. There’s the reticent, hemmed-in, but razor-sharp Govind (Raj Kumar) who wants a future outside the restrictive life in the pol (community). The frustrated, angry and agitated local cricketer Ishaan (Sushant), who will tame his restlessness by teaching batting to a poor, malnourished, marbles-obsessed, puckish Ali (Digvijay). Then, there’s the troubled and torn Omi (Amit). Will he become complicit and compromised in the violence that surrounds him or will he manage to find peace within himself and with his friends?
It’s a world of political parties mounted on the bedrock of polarising religion. But there’s also hope, however small, of a utopia where a third religion called cricket will bridge widened divides. Where the bat and ball will sort out the badly entangled strings of relationship (as goes the lovely Swanand Kirkire-Amit Trivedi piece Suljha denge uljhe rishton ka manjha). Where friends, unable to enjoy an India-Australia game in isolation, will rush to each other upon an Indian victory. Where Ishaan will help make Ali the best batsman in the country. Where this child in a skull cap will rest under a picture of Durga—not to speak of that stunning intro shot of Ali, bat in hand. A bat to win the day for India. Naive it might be, but that’s the image I have in my mind’s eye.
The only way a Gujarati will appreciate his people, is by keeping a separateness. The same is true for any community. I can be Gujarati, living in Gujarat. The idea I seem to suggest, is that the individual appreciates what is associated with individuality.
Outlook reviews are crazy. It is a meandering movie, which is neither here nor there. I wonder what it is supposed to do or not do for the Chief Minister, but for me it was a waste of time. I would rather watch Dil Chahta Hai any day than this silly movie in which nothing happens.
Very poor review, considering that the authoress has not even hinted at the whitewash this film was meant to give Modi, courtesy Chetan Bhagat.
Authoress Namrata must be dismissed from giving reviews.
The question is, if people can 'feel good' and have great sentiment after one among them can walk over the others, when everyone including the walker is sleeping, why does Gujarat need to be 'vibrant'? It seems everyone goes to a social gathering, which is unfortunately referred to as a picnic, in short notice, the day after.
I consider Kai Po Che a superb cinematic effort. Nobody is "good", nobody is "bad" - everybody is human. This is something I can relate to - having lived and worked in Gujarat at the time of the earthquake and after.
And what a gem of a title. Even those who know nothing of the Gujarati language will understand the anguish of the phrase - "I have cut you down".
Please, Outlook magazine - stop hiring jaded cynics as staff columnists. Nobody wants to hear their worthless comments - "time-honoured cliches of Hindi cinema" - my left foot.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT