Directed by: Abhishek Kapoor
Starring: Raj Kumar, Amit Sudh, Sushant Singh Rajput and Amrita Puri
All images courtesy of: http://www.glamsham.com
Whilst films centering on male friendships are not a rare concept in Hindi cinema, with each film on the subject comes the responsibility to raise the bar higher. And despite the hype surrounding it, Kai Po Che! is a film that manages to do this successfully so that even if we are on familiar territory here, that all essential treatment is applied correctly and prudently. Confidently bringing together politics, natural disasters, sport ,enterprise and male bonding under one roof, Kai Po Che! could easily collapse under the weight of its own ambition.
But Kapoor maintains taut direction throughout, keeping the film firmly on track and on a very local level – our characters are not so lucky to completely escape the world around them but thanks to the very believable friendship between the three leads, we see events from their perspective and have a genuine emotional investment in what happens to these characters. I also liked the fact that there was no conclusion where everyone ends up living happily ever after – in particular, one imagines Omi’s character will forever be haunted by his actions for the rest of his life.
The three leads give superb performances in their respective roles – Kumar captures Govind’s geeky nature and awkwardness perfectly as well as the nervous energy that continually drives him forward. Rajput is a fireball of energy as Ishaan, switching between the gauntlet of emotions that Ishaan endures with a naturalness that feels very fresh. I really liked Amit Sudh’s performance as Omi which I felt could be construed as very laidback but was actually very understated and likeable. The three actors also share a wonderful chemistry together which really forms the soul of Kai Po Che! and is crucial to making the film succeed. Though Amrita Puri has little to do, she does it well and makes her presence felt amongst the testosterone.
So Kai Po Che! may not be a revolutionary ground-breaking film but to be honest, I was quite glad it wasn’t. Not only is it a pleasure to watch a film that is comfortable in its own skin but I also felt this was a story told well with no hidden agenda; after viewing the film, it was the characters who were foremost on my mind, not the politics, and it was the nuances and quiet moments that really made the film for me. Furthermore, Kai Po Che! has an element of universality that I felt would appeal to a wider audience as well as conversing with the viewer in a very direct and simple manner. Without a doubt worth a watch, this is one film I am looking forward to seeing again at a later date and another early entrant for the top films of 2013. Recommended.