Hello and welcome to another edition of the Indian Kaleidoscope, where we explore all things in Indian cinema! This time it’s a film in the language Hindi and it’s called Kai Po Che! “Kai Po Che!” is a Gujarati (a native language of the state of Gujarat in India) phrase that’s used during the kite flying competitions during the festival of Makar Sankranti (or Uttarayan in Gujarat). When a person manages to cut the string of another kite during the competition, the phrase “Kai Po Che!” is used.
The movie is actually based on the novel by Chetan Bhagat titled – “The Three Mistakes of my Life”. Bhagat himself helped work on the screenplay as well for this movie. If you wish to read more on the novel you can click here, or if you want to read about the differences between the novel and the movie, and which I liked better, you can click here!
This review will not contain any spoilers, nor will the review of the novel.
Title : Kai Po Che! (Trans. I have cut)
Country of origin : India
Language : Hindi
Directed by : Abhishek Kapoor
Produced by : Ronnie Screwvala, Siddarth Roy Kapur
Screenplay : Pubali Chaudari, Supratik Sen, Abhishek Kapoor, Chetan Bhagat
Cinematography : Anay Goswamy
Based on : The Three Mistakes of my Life by Chetan Bhagat
Starring : Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh, Rajkummar Rao, Amrita Puri, Asif Basra
Music : Amit Trivedi (Soundtrack) and Hitesh Sonik (Background score)
Production and Distribution : UTV Motion Pictures
Released : 22 February 2013
Duration : 126 minutes
Genre : Friendship , Romance, Drama
The film begins with one of the main characters Govind giving a presentation on his sports club and parallel to that another character Omi is being released from prison.
We skip to a flashback ten years ago where we have a talented cricketer Ishaan who wasn’t selected due to internal politics in the selection process. His two best friends are Govind and Omi. Govind was a studious student who teaches students in the area but yearns to become successful and make lots of money. Omi doesn’t have much of an opinion on things and follows his friends around as he loves their company a lot.
The three of them decide to start a sports club in the area. They get the space and finances for it with the help of Omi’s maternal uncle Bittu Mama who is the head of a religious political party. They steadily work hard and grow their business.
Ishaan also requests Govind to teach his younger sister Vidhya, Math for an upcoming exam, but a romance starts to bud between the two. Ishaan also discovers a young boy with a natural talent for cricket by the name of Ali, and trains him in cricket at their sports club.
The story then revolves around the challenges that the three of them face as they grow their business amongst political, religion and pressures between them all, and how they traverse through the same.
At first glance, the movie has a perfect combination for becoming a good movie and not the usual run-of-the-mill movie. It has a combination of a good bromance, tense topics such as religion, politics and cricket, which is arguably India’s biggest “religion”. And whatever we imagined does turn out to be the output of this film as well. The screenplay was very satisfactory making it a very good watch. It wasn’t a surprise that we got this film from the filmakers of this movie as their past projects were the likes of Rock On! Etc.
Another factor that pushed the plot of the story was the fact that there were real events from the timeline that were woven into and perfectly placed with the characters and the main plot, this being – the earthquakes in Gujarat in 2001, The Godhra train burning incident and the Gujarat riots in 2002. When such events that we experienced or saw in reality are interspersed into a story it makes the relatability elevate a lot.
Coming to the actors, unlike the big names that usually adorn famous Bollywood movies, this one had a maybe lesser known cast that delivered a highly satisfactory performance.
Be it Rajkummar Rao’s character depiction of Govind, with his nervousness and fumbling when he has an affair with Vidya, or being the only serious one when it comes to managing the cricket club, he was the driving force that connected all the characters. Honestly there is no central character or one man show when we mention Govind, it feels more apt to mention him as the link that connects the plot. Sushant Singh Rajput was probably the perfect choice for Ishaan who may be a person whose always playful and lax but would do anything for his friends and would work hard at what he loves – cricket even though he was treated unfairly when it comes to a career in cricket. Amit Sadh may have had lesser appearances and influence when we take the movie as a whole, but if we have watched this movie we know that his character was all about the ending of the movie and the climax as well. The three of them were good individually and together, as it should be, because the movie isn’t about any one of them, but about all three of them.
Coming to the supporting actors they did have a sizeable role in the movie especially Bittu Mama and Ali, and performed well. Vidya’s role wasn’t paramount to the story which led me to not taking too much of my focus on her story either. However the romantic sequence was a fresh break amidst the tensions in the plot otherwise.
The settings and character depictions screamed a very Gujarat like feel, at least to me, so that was a tick in my box as well.
If I did have to mention a problem it would be that the pace of the introductory parts were quite fast compared to the climax (more on that in the post on book versus movie). I wouldn’t cite it as a major flaw though, because the execution of the scenes making up the climax made up for it. The ending also surprised me a little since I was expecting one like in the book (again, check out the post on book versus movie).
The depiction of the communal tensions and incidents are always a risk to depict on screen especially since this is based on true incidents that happened during those years. Thankfully the incidents weren’t depicted too dramatically to make is feel like it’s more of a fictitious event, than a retelling of an actual event. Ultimately fighting over things such as divisions amongst humans in the name of religion, race and other factors is sad, and it’s not something that we have seen during those events, but even things that are happening right now in the year 2021 too.
Overall if you want to watch an authentic Indian movie with an excellent on screen friendship, a fresh face with the cast, and a story about actual youth and things that happen in India, this one’s a breath of fresh air and is a good way to introduce yourself to these types of films! I’ve really enjoyed this movie, and I would love to know your feedback as well!
As mentioned before I do have a spoiler free review on the book, and a book versus movie post as well which is linked at the top!
You can check out the trailer for the movie here.