Cut! – Thoughts on Kai Po Che

When you make a movie about friends, you add a lot of moments to it. Abhishek Kapoor’s earlier production Rock On! had them. It was a well-constructed plot discussing each character sincerely and completely before even getting all of them together in one screen. Let’s excuse Aryan, his 2006 inept blow job. But his recent Kai Po Che, which according to several other reviewers is 2013’s best film, an ode to true friendship or even a well-crafted mass entertainer.

For me, it’s none of the above.

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First, the beginning is vague. It’s even boring.

Secondly, be it Dil Chahta Hai, Three Idiots or the Indian version of Hangover, for Indian directors, the three-friends-recipe has become gastronomically fashionable. In Kai Po Che! as well, no surprises, there are three friends, Govind (Raj Kumar Yadav), Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput) and Omi (Amit Sadh). Their stories are shot in the backdrop of a city like Ahmedabad, a city where the chinfest of cricket, politics and business run hand-in-hand. It’s easy to create a tale about three friends embroiled in this milieu. The familiarity of the history of Gujarat creates a flavor but does not leave a remarkable after-taste.

But what makes the plot’s slightly delectable is its itsy-bitsy Gujarati sweetness, in parts, its actors and beautiful locations and music.

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The actors’ use of the local language adds to the local seasoning and a tang of blasphemous humor. Their inexperience in the reel world hardly shows. Performances by Raj Kumar Yadav and Amrita Puri (Vidya), Ishaan’s sister in the movie adaptation are note-worthy. Sushant Singh Rajput probably needs to work a bit more on his diction. He still mumbles, much like in his Pavitra Rishta  days.  In every frame, the beauty of places such as Porbandar, Sabarmati, Vadnagar and Diu is well-defined, elaborate and exquisite. Amit Trivedi’s Manja and Meethi Boliyan yet again do not fail to impress.

What fails to impress is the sheer absence of those moments.

Written by Shubhra Rishi.

Ishaqwaande?

A movie with the title Ishaqzaade sets the expectation of a bastardly love story, simply because of its connection to the Hindi invective haramzaade (Ishaqzaade is a portmanteau of ishq [love] and haramzaade [bastard]). But more than that, looking from the 21st century perspective of romance, you expect a deviation from the norm, that little twist in the tale which leaves a taste which is far from proverbial. But no, enter Yashraj Productions and they will make sure that the conventional is deep-rooted in all the movies they make and produce.

So here’s your regular anti-hero Parma (played by Arjun Kapoor, son of well-known producer Boney Kapoor who shot to fame because of his second marriage to Sridevi) with an unhygienic and extremely unattractive stubble who provides an anti-climax towards the finish. Meet his love interest Zoya (played by Parineeti Chopra, cousin of the famous Priyanka Chopra) who is a rebel, outspoken and wild for a conventional, Muslim family with political roots and whose character disappoints towards the end.

Ishaqzaade is set in a small town in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and is just what the audience expect: our anti-hero with his gang of hoodlums makes use of the family’s political stature and does what he does best – causes inconvenience to the local junta. The couple’s natural hatred for each other is a result of the long-driven political rivalry between families. Without spilling the beans any further, the story progresses from the boy-meet-girl, girl-slaps-boy till they fall in love.

Both the actors have done justice to their roles. Chopra screams for attention, more because of a rather attractive face in the mass of ugliness. But she has proven that she can do better than just being a pretty face like her sister in all her movies (excepting Kaminey and Saath Khoon Maaf).

Kapoor boy needs a make-over if he wishes to play the hero in other movies. Otherwise, he will end up being another Abhishek Bachchan who despite having the height and the shadow of his father, looks constipated in all his movies.

More power to Ranjit Barot for the engaging background score and Amit Trivedi for the wonderful soundtrack. If not for them, the movie’s plot would have been a 135-minute torture.

Hemant Chaturvedi, the cinematographer has shot the film so well as if he’s acquainted with the UP roads and locations like a fish to water.

All in all, it’s an entertaining movie with a woman’s character played down. Chopra’s role should have been more well-defined and powerful. But the director Habib Faisal would rather stick to the love story gone bad routine.

Written by Shubhra Rishi.