Welcome to another sensitive and superlative friendship film. Like other memorable cinema in this category, Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Rang De Basanti (2006), Rock On!! (from the same director, Abhishek Kapoor, in 2008) and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), Kai Po Che, too, is a story of male bonding in the time of the devastating Gujarat earthquake and the disturbing Godhra riots.
Based on Chetan Bhagat’s The 3 Mistakes of My Life, in his second outing, Abhishek Kapoor raises the bar by giving us a thoroughly enjoyable film that showcases the strong emotions between the three protagonists who are boisterous, ballistic and at times plain bored.
The film captures their trials and tribulations in the post-college, pre-what-career-to-pursue period. They have two passions — cricket and their camaraderie. And two of them (Ishaan and Omi) also have concerned parents who want them to find direction quickly. They find temporary succour when they turn their passion for the sport into a business venture; opening a store selling sports equipment. The rebellious Ishaan (whose raison d’etre is cricket) sobers down a bit as he lands an opportunity to impart cricket coaching to the neighbourhood Muslim boy, Ali.
But the screenplay gathers momentum when tragedy strikes in the form of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and the 2002 Godhra riots. Both these calamities expose the chinks in the armour of the friendship between the boys. They also throw open the can of worms that brought to light the tainted Hindu-Muslim hatred, one of the darkest chapters in the history of Gujarat.
There is also a nicely handled romantic track between Amrita Puri (Vidya) and Govind that adds a lovely touch to the proceedings. The performances of the three boys — Sushant Singh Rajput (Ishaan), Raj Kumar Yadav (Govind) and Amit Sadh (Omi) — are the finest one has seen. A special mention for Sushant who has the best role and manages to do full justice to it. Amrita Puri is very likeable. Amit Trivedi’s music is soulful, leaving you mesmerised.
Despite the disturbing backdrop of death, destruction and politics, Kai Po Che is very likeable. Between tears, you find yourself smiling, because it’s the story of friendship and human triumph above all else.
Three close friends – Govind, Ishaan and Omi — seem inseparable. But can they overcome the odds to stay together for life?
You will not like this movie if slice-of-life films with intense emotions are not your cup of tea.