Wednesday, February 27, 2013

‘Kai Po Che’ – The Socially Relevant Indian Film


I finally caught up with the KAI PO CHE fever at a cinema house near my place.  I could gather by all the hype-n-hoopla by facebookers and twitterati that this is a film which my mom would possibly love. So, I took her along. The cinema hall was almost filled to the brim. Considering that it was a Tuesday, a day when we are suited booted to work, the fact that the hall was almost houseful stood testimony to the fact that this film was a raving success in box office collections. Whether this film was really as good as it was projected to be was something to gauge.

I stayed away from reading complete reviews of this film as I wanted to steer away from preconceived thoughts and presumptions about the film.   Still what was evident from the pre-publicity was that this was a film about 3 friends.  I also assumed that this film was about some kite flying competition set in Gujarat, India as KAI PO CHE are words uttered by Gujaratis when they manage to cut another kite that’s flying in the sky. I am sure this is what many of you’ll would also be thinking about this film, if you have not seen it yet.  
To start with, this film didn’t have any big names to flaunt in terms of star cast.  But the director Abhishek Kapoor makes the script the god and gets in characters, music, cinematography, screenplay et al  to simply orchestrate it to perfection. Let me not give you a run down about the whole script of the film, but point out at some poignant points it makes, which makes it a very socially relevant film.  In doing so, I know I would reveal some parts of the story, but believe me, even if you have read it, you would love to go and watch this film.  It is not a film, it is an experience. 

  • ·         “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”

This is the central message of the film. The film has 3 characters who are as diverse as chalk and cheese. One angry and brute, the other stupid and impulsive, the third calculative, the film takes you through a plethora of emotions (minus melodrama) to help you understand  and empathize without forming opinions on each character.  

These three guys are together in thick and thin, but suddenly, external forces, tragedy and disharmony has the dominos effect on them, and they all topple away, far and beyond. They are like the three ends of the triangle, very uniquely connected to each other. They are touchy feely throughout, yet, it very nicely establishes that this is nothing but heterosexual friend bonding. (What’s the word – yaah “Bromance”)

  • ·         “Teaching Could Be Beyond A Profession -  A Passion”

The film has Sushant Singh Rajput who is a cricket enthusiast. His character Ishaan plays a coach who would go to any limits to ensure that the talent he has discovered is nurtured and celebrated. It doesn’t matter to him if the talent he has found bats sixer after sixer  on the field or if he wins a match, what matters to him is the fact that the talent that he has nurtured and the skills he has taught are used for the rounded. There is a scene where his student, is playyying too well, but Sushant isn’t content. He screams at his student from the stands to challenge his limits, and play the bat on the side that he usually avoids. Sushant, works really hard on this student, and his enthusiasm for teaching is undying.

  • ·         “Sports Is As Important As Studies”

These 3 guys set up a Cricket training institute and also a cricket equipment shop where they sell cricketing gears.  One parsi lady walks into their shop and she happens to be the principal  of Kendriya Vidyalaya. She suggests that they come to her school and make a presentation to her and the trustees about the inculcation of sports education. They go. They make the presentation. But the trustees feel that bookish education is more important than sports education. Sushant loses his cool, but is logical in his debate. He convinces the trustees to offer them the job. They are given the assignment.

What an important point made! And so very poignantly. Seriously, does anyone care how many marks Sachin Tendulkar scored in his tenth grade?

  • ·         “Be Alert Against Political Indoctrination”  

One of the three friends gets money from his politician uncle to sponsor the cricketing franchise. In return he expects his nephew to join his political party. His nephew obliges.  He gets engrossed in the election campaign bit, and gets farther and farther from his friends.  He loses his family in a religio-political attack (Sabarmati Express massacre) and he is being told by his Uncle that he needs to avenge the death of his folks in a Blood-For-Blood mode. His anger is misdirected and he goes for the kill. Angry. Cold Blooded. In the end he ends up killing someone who is very dear to him.

The film speaks about dealing with crises and how easy it is to get misdirected when you are under psychological depression or obligation. It leaves an indelible mark in your memory, without being preachy or activistic at any point. This character – Omi, could be anybody. Each one of us would identify with him, at some point of our lives.

  • ·         “Yeah! Women Can Exercise Sexual Agency.”

O! I always thought that WOMAN ON TOP was an Anurag Kashyap domain. Here Abhishek Kapoor offers him some stiff competition. The scene where the woman (played by Amita Puri) takes charge of her sexual desires and dares to make moves at her tutor by feeling up his skin is awe inspiring. There are occasions when the guy is chicken when she is hot like a tandoor.  

In a country where the penis is seen as a hero and the vagina as something that needs to be whitened and tightened for  HIS pleasure.  A woman, daring to exercise her pleasure and exhibit her sexual needs, desires and fantasies is always revolutionary.

  • ·         “Babes, Pop The Cherry, But Bear No Seed”

The film is set in Gujarat. And it is not a hidden fact that navratri is the mating season in Gujarat. I was not surprised to see Govind (Raj Kumar Yadav) in his peacocked attire getting cozy with Vidya (Amita) and finally copulating after playing Garbha with each other. (I really need to understand, how one copulates wearing such a difficult dress. It would take ages for one to remove the clothing) Later, Govind is stunned when Vidya tells him that she has missed her periods as he had used “Protection”. Later it she gets her chums.

Very interesting to see that Raj Kumar is shown as a sexually shy guy in the beginning (he shies from reading FUN magazine whe, representing an average Indian, who does not speak about sex or watch pornography but does it nevertheless.  With films like these, Dr. Watsa would be out of his business. In a very subtle way, Koi Po Che tells the audience to use protection in heterosexual sexepedes to avoid pregnancy. It also tells the audience that the Sperm is not Casper to magically slip out of the walls of the condom to swim through the vagina to the ovary to make a baby there.  God, that’s too much effort for the sperms to undertake.

The film Kai Po Che, which sounds like POI PO CHE which means IT IS GONE in tamil, is anything but that. This film is here to stay in the annals of bollywood film history. Kai Po Che would be remembered. It is a film with an unconventional title and a very conventional heart. At no point is the film “preachy”, the characters flow in from one scene to the other seamlessly.  Kai Po Che is an interesting collage of emotions that help in navigating the story. At no point did I feel that there was a character that was a misfit. There were no item songs.  There was no fanfare music. There is no LEAD ACTOR.  Every character is a lead character.  And there is no STAR. And that possibly helps because, there are no unnecessary – over the top – histrionic emotions where the camera focuses on the main leads face back and forth just because the actor wants to add some more masala to his portfolio. The good thing is that this film proves that a starless film can actually be a star.

Chetan Bhagat’s stories evoke extreme emotions – they are either loved-to-death or they are hated-as-hell… but films inspired by his book are always a blockbuster (Yes yes, I know HELLO! Was a HELL NO! but let’s ignore that one film).  I have not read the book, I am not much a book reader, but I should say that the screenplay was wonderful.
There were no words like “HINDU” or “MUSLIM” used in the film prominently. It was just THIS GROUP and THAT GROUP. There are no fancy abuses. The music is simply to suit the mood of the film. There is no item number. There is no camera zooming in and zooming out unnecessarily. This film doesn’t try being an entertainer, and it leaves you entertained. If there is something that is truly bollywood in the film – it is the climax. That’s the point you will jump on your seats and say “I knew it”… “I knew it”.

If you are planning to watch this film. Don’t plan, GO WATCH IT. Watch it for Sushant, Raj Kumar Yadav, Amit Sadh and Amrita Puri – They are FAB. They are fab because they don’t overplay their character to gain brownie points despite the fact that this is their big ticket film.  Watch it for Abhishek Kapoor, who has made a film from his heart. Watch it for the story that leaves a mark on you. Watch it because you wish to support cinema without big names to back it.  I am not saying that this is the best film made on earth. But I am definitely saying that this film is an experience, you should have at least once.  

And more over, watch this film, because this is a film that speaks about 3 main Indian religions– Hindu, Muslim and Cricket.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Die, But To Be Born Again

I know sometimes the sun shines bright
And sometimes you have a dreary night.
.. there are two skies it may seem.
... but life is a dream yet not a dream.

But all times remember, that whatever the day,
or come what may-

".. it is never too late to look outside at the lake, get lost in the woods,
hear the chirping of the birds,
seek rainbows in the sky...
and then decide,
if you want to give it a thought now - from the slippery cliff that indecisively you are hanging from..
do you wish to give up your grip to die,
or to be born again after your painful self has died.


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