It was during a train journey from Allahabad in 2009 that I picked up “The 3 mistakes of My Life”. Buying a shabby glitched pirated copy from one of those hawkers who happen to sell their way through Indian trains, I finished it at one go and was entertained. It was by no means as charming as Bhagat’s previous effort, Five Point Someone, but had something very likable about it and was easy on the mind and lips. The story had enough to pack a punch and the characters felt real. The prospect of making a movie out of it didn’t occur to me at that time but with the promos of Kai Po Che airing, I was hooked. I was interested to see the characters so earnestly evolved by Bhagat in words getting fleshed out on the giant screen. And here I was watching Kai Po Che with a capacity audience.
The film begins with Omi (Amit Sadh) being released from the jail. He is picked up by Govind (Raj Kumar) with the least possible bells tolling. The two take a journey through crooked roads and stop for a snack at a CCD outlet. Omi looks on at the television as a cricket match unfolds and we swoosh back in time 10 years back and meet the three friends with the addition of Ishan (Susant Singh Rajput). The trio opens up a sport shop inside a temple complex with a little help from Omi’s maternal uncle Bittoo, while Ishan starts coaching local boys cricket in the complex which comes along with the shop. Govind on the other hand is also involved in teaching Ishan’s sister, Vidya, mathematics. Vidya is however more interested in Biology. Ishan discovers a prodigy in Ali, a local boy who has an uncanny ability to hit mammoth sixes without even flinching an eye lead. Ishan takes to mentoring the boy but soon realizes that the task might just be harder than what he had expected. With time the trio makes their way through earthquake, riots and political turmoil to end up with their respective destinies.
In the hands of Abhishek Kapoor, Kai Po Che turns into an exceptionally crafted affair with wonderful details provided for the three principal characters. The three characters Omi, Govind and Ishan symbolize the three most important constituents of life which is water, earth and air. While Govind is strong and steady as earth, Ishan is free and fiery like the air while Omi is calm yet takes up the shape in which he is molded like the water. These three characteristics of the friends actually affect their lives and shape their tomorrow. Their action also echo through their compatriot’s lives and makes an impact on their futures. If I read the book right, Bhagat had the same vision for the characters and Kapoor does wonderfully well to keep a tab on that. He does take a few minor and some major deviations or should call it liberties from the book but it all works out in the end.
The performances are stupendous. Raj Kumar is outstanding as Govind. His gelling with the rest of the group is flawless. I loved his scenes with Ishan’s sister. They are hilarious to watch. Sushant as Ishan is a revelation. He portrays every nuance of the character with aplomb. His outbursts and his sincerity towards Ali are wonderfully brought out. Amit Sadh impressed me the most. His gradual transformation under the guidance of his Bittoo mama and his tragedies are brought out with some unforgettable scenes acted out beautifully by Sadh. Who could have thought that the man who idolized Ishan and followed him with hero worship would actually bring him down in the end? Sadh has been waiting in the wings for too long. This should do his acting career a world of good and give it the much needed jolt start. Amrita Puri as Vidya is swelt. The way she teases Govind and the chemistry between the two is delightful to watch.
The music is outstanding. The background score as also the tree tracks, Manja, Meethe Boliyan, and Shubharambh keep appearing in brief stints taking the narrative forwards and also enchanting the viewers. The cinematography is outstanding. Each frame has rustic yet eloquent feel to it. The editing is perfect leaving no room for any complaints.
Overall, Kai Po Che will merit as one of the best movies of this year so far. We are just into the month of march and we already have such a gem of a movie. The year looks bright already!!!….