Set in late 1990s/early 2000s Gujarat, Kai Po Che tells the story of three friends – Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput), Omi (Amit Sadh) and Govind (Raj Kumar Yadav) – who dream big, despite their limited resources. Desperate to start their own sporting goods store/training academy, the boys take money from Omi’s uncle, who in return expects that Omi join their political party. The story of their friendship, their struggles and their triumphs are narrated against the backdrop of earthquakes, political riots and cricket, comprising the rest of the film.
Kai Po Che has been generating quite a bit of hype recently, but does it live up to it? Read our Pros and Cons list to find out!
(+) The performances. Director Abhishek Kapoor admitted in an interview once that no leading stars wanted to do this film – and that’s probably something for the best, since the roles are very appropriately cast. Everyone does a good job in this film – Sushant is confident in debut (plus extremely good-looking) and Amit carries his role well, but it’s probably Raj Kumar Yadav who steals the show as the level-headed, quiet Govi. Amrita Puri (Vidya – Ishaan’s sister) is fun, making sure you remember her despite the fact that it’s a male-driven film. Also excellent are Manav Kaul and Asif Basra (remember him as the Ratlam station vendor in Jab We Met?)
(+) It’s very real. The film’s main strength lies in the fact that it connects with the audience because everything’s relatable – there’s no glamour, no fancy setting and no unnatural dialogue. Coupled with fantastic cinematography (Anay Goswami) that captures Gujarat in all its glory, it makes for a great movie-watching experience.
(+) It has some lovely moments. And this is what makes the film worth going for – not the story, but the way director Abhishek Kapoor treats his characters and their interpersonal relationships. The most note-worthy scene in the movie is post the India-Australia cricket match, when two warring friends reconcile over the pure joy of victory.
(-) It may be one con, but it’s a big one: the story, which is based on Chetan Bhagat‘s The 3 Mistakes of My Life. My main problem with it is that there’s too much happening – the film tries to tackle too many issues: there’s the growth of a start-up business, the training of a cricket prodigy, a natural disaster, politics, historical riots and a love story – which means that none of these things get focused on properly and none are adequately resolved. Thus, the film often settles for being easy and contrived at parts. Kai Po Che, in my opinion, could have been a much more poignant film if not bogged down by a thin story – and if it focused more on the characters and relationships.
It may not be a great story, but Abhishek Kapoor infuses enough warm moments in the film to leave a smile on your face.