Imagine a blueberry cheesecake without the right crust. Or a macaroni and cheese pasta without garnishing. Or simply imagine your favourite dish with less salt. That’s Kai Po Che! for you. The film has everything yet seems short of few elements. It leaves you wanting for more. It makes you happy yet disappoints.
I remember telling my brother that Chetan Bhagat’s 3 mistakes Of My Life will make for a brilliant Bollywood film. It has all the masala and emotions for it. And full props to director Abhishek Kapoor for adapting a badly written book and making it into a decent and watchable film. The first few minutes of the film have a huge Rock on! Déjà vu. Boys going shirtless, dancing, jumping into a sea, etc. It’s your quintessential buddy movie but lacks emotional resonance. It’s there still not there.
The first half of the film is plateaued. It breezes through smoothly but lacks any defining moment. Except the earthquake portion which is brilliantly executed. Ahmadabad looks authentic. Also, the lack of humour makes the first half a little dry. Probably the filmmaker took the term ‘dry state’ tad too seroislsuly. Starkly opposite is the second half. There’s a lot packed in there. Post earthquake parts, the riots, the conflicts and the emotional turbulence; it’s the post interval portion which saves the film. And of course there’s cricket too! Like in most films, the gentlemen’s game manages to perk up the right emotions.
Technically, the film is excellent. The cinematography and background score is first rate. Amit Trivedi’s music is the soul of the film. Maanjha, Meethi boliyaan and Shubharambh stay with you even after you have left the theatre. Clocking in a runtime of 126 minutes, Kai Po Che is one of the best edited films to come of out of hour films. Deepa Bhatia take a bow. The pace of the film is one of its biggest strengths.
The other big strength of the film are the performances. The lead actors put in their soul into their characters. Sushant Singh Rajput makes a confident debut. Good looks, great body and fine acting chops, this one shows big promise. Amit Sadh shines even though his character is the weakest. His vulnerability is adorable and convincingly conveys the characters inner conflicts. But the real scene stealer is Raj Kumar Yadav. He brings an awkward charm to his character and breathes common man. It’s hard to take your eyes off him when he’s in the frame. Amrita Puri is easy on eyes and gets by. The supporting cast is also spot on.
Kai Po Che! is definitely one of the better films to come out of our country in the recent past. Wish it was just a little more layered and packed in more punch.