Blender’s Pride is a premium whiskey and hence, before I start reviewing Hindi movie – Kai Po Che (2013), let me put forth a disclaimer that I do not promote consumption of alcoholic drinks and this review has nothing to do with that whiskey. I have titled the review as such because this movie is a rare blend of Cricket, sentiments, friendly bonds, communal tensions and biased politics in Gujarat and above all, the passion of three youths to move ahead in life on the basis of their love for sports, turning this love of theirs only into their profession. All these ingredients have been blended so well in the narrative that it is difficult to segregate any one of them from the others. That’s why I term this movie as a blender’s pride.Cricket is no less than a religion in our country. Putting it frank and straight, now it is the most popular religion encompassing all the nooks and corners of the nation and all the strata of the society. The craze for this sport transcends all the bounds viz.caste, creed, religion, gender, age, province, language, class, profession etc. etc. etc. Many movies have been made taking this sport as the subject matter but only Patiala House (2011) blends it pretty well with and makes it an inseparable part of the theme which is different. Kai Po Che is another one and the filmmaker has done this job with perfection. Unlike Patiala House whose protagonist is a Cricketer himself, the protagonists of this movie are Cricket lovers who live this game.I read Chetan Bhagat’s novel – The 3 Mistakes of My Life which this movie is based upon after watching the movie. And I feel that this extremely well made movie is an improvement on the novel. The narrative grips the spectator from the word ‘go’ and thereafter that grip does not get loosened anywhere till the final shot.The three protagonists of Kai Po Che are Govind (Rajkumar Yadav), Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput) and Omi (Amit Sadh) who love sports, especially Cricket and dream to make it big in life by following their passion and running a business of sports materials and a sports academy combined together. How their dreams take shape amidst the financial and practical troubles, how they keep their friendship intact despite differences in views and nature, how they face the natural and man-made calamities and finally the communal riots after the painful Godhra train-coach burning incident; everything has been presented on the screen in the most appealing manner. And amidst all these phenomena, there is Cricket and their love for it just like the love of the millions of Indian commoners. This love blended with their mutual love, works as the adhesive between them, not allowing them to get separated, come what may.I am from Sambhar Lake, district Jaipur, Rajasthan and my maximum relatives are in Jaipur, the Pink City. Every year, on the Makar Sankranti day (14th January), the world famous kite festival takes place in Jaipur and nearby areas when the kite fliers fill the sky with colourful kites and go for knocking the kites of others (such fights of kites are called PECH in North India). And when someone is able to knock the kite of someone else by his, then the surroundings reverberate with the victory shout – Woh Kaata (I have cut it). The same victory shout is known as Kai Po Che in Gujarati. This joyful roar is symbolic of the small victories gained by the protagonists in the battle of life.
Another very significant thing about this movie is the emotional bonding between males. The trend of making modern movies based on male bonding had started with Farhan Akhtar’s debut directorial venture – Dil Chaahta Hai (2001) and it was followed up by movies like Rang De Basanti (2006), Rock On (2008), 3 Idiots (2009), Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) etc. Kai Po Che continues this trend in style with an utterly different setting and backdrop. Ishaan’s passion for Cricket and exasperating the talent hidden in a young boy of a modest Muslim family is unique but his two comrades are also crazy for Cricket. The best scene in this regard is the watching of India’s historic victory over Australia in the Kolkata test match in 2001 by Omi on TV and thereafter his craving to share his abundant joy with his pals. An unfortunate incident post the earthquake in Gujarat had created a rift between him and Ishaan. But when he runs out of his house to find someone to share his joy, he finds Ishaan coming to him with open arms and they embrace each other, forgetting the past things. That scene is able to leave an indelible imprint on the heart of anybody who puts a premium on friendship and camaraderie.This movie is so realistic in terms of milieu, characters and events that any middle class person whether a kid or a teenager or a youth or a mature one, can easily identify with the things shown in it. The characters of the movie are not from some other world. We know them. We recognize them. They are from among us only. How local politics is run in our country, how biases for or against some particular community are propagated and how bloody they can be when taken to the extreme; everything is damn real. Nevertheless, the sensible director has not allowed anything to go out of his hand and kept everything under strict check. That’s why this movie has turned out to be well-balanced and highly impressive.
The only superfluous and irritating thing I found in this movie is the romantic track of Ishaan’s sister Vidya (Amrita Puri) and Govind. Though this track is on the lines of the novel, it disturbs the flow of the movie and is not in sync with its overall mood. Over-enthusiastic Vidya’s advances towards submissive and meek Govind might be appealing to the romantic female audience but to me, they appeared as unnatural and unduly imposed, diluting the otherwise high quality of the movie.
The climax is a hurried one which could have been given some dialogs between the friends facing each other. The movie may appear as biased against the Hindu community but considering the Gujarat setting of the story and the period being the same when the flames of communal hatred had enveloped the state, it had to be that way only.
All the three heroes have delivered mindblowing performances. Sushant Singh Rajput has entered the skin of the character of the greatly humanistic and utterly sensitive Ishaan quite effortlessly. It’s very difficult to imagine some other actor in that role. Rajkumar Yadav and Amit Sadh are not far behind. Among others, the one who truly stands out is Manav Kaul playing Omi’s politically biased maternal uncle. Child artist Digvijay Deshmukh playing the young Muslim child – Ali whom Ishaan aspires to develop into a great Cricketer, also leaves his mark.
Technically, the movie is just outstanding with the Gujarat of that period coming alive on the screen. Length is apt. Editing is praiseworthy. Music prepared by the team of composer Amit Trivedi and lyricist Swanand Kirkire deserves high accolades. Suljha Lenge Uljhe Rishton Ka Maanjha is definitely the best and an unforgettable song but the other two songs – Meethi Boliyan and Shubharambh are also praiseworthy.
After Rock On (2008), director Abhishek Kapoor has proved once again through Kai Po Che that he knows his work very well and is able to make heart-winning movies. As said in the opening para, it’s truly Blender’s Pride, pleasantly intoxicating and leaving a long lasting impact on the consumer (that is, the viewer).
© Copyrights reserved