You’ve got to hand it to Abhishek Kapoor. After the enormously acclaimed Rock On!!, which collected two National Awards (Best Feature Film in Hindi and Best Supporting Actor for Arjun Rampal), one would have thought he could have sat back and picked the stars for his next. But no! One hears no big star could find the time or inclination to do one of the three main roles in the director’s second film, Kai Po Che.
Unlike many directors who wait endlessly (and often to no effect) for a big name to come on board, Abhishek Kapoor decided to go ahead with lesser-known actors. This is not an easy commercial decision to make. For so much of your funding and subsequent box-office success depends on the star names you can flaunt. To go it on the strength of your story and faith is a brave move. Whether that move will pay off adequately is, of course, a question that will be answered only after February 22. So one hopes for the director and one hopes for us, the audience, that this film will be every bit as engaging as Rock On!!
It should be interesting to see what he does with the book his film is based on: Chetan Bhagat’s Three Mistakes of my Life. The plot seems fairly faithful to the book: three ambitious young friends in the early 2000s, trying to hit on a Big Idea that will make them all rich. That idea is a cricket training academy.
Kapoor has one Hindi film staple, a bromance; and one potential winner, cricket. And, as Student of the Year showed us, it is enormously refreshing to see new talent and faces other than those of our inevitable superstars. It’s a price worth paying even if the inexperience shows sometimes. Old story, fresh faces. (Now let’s just hope Chetan Bhagat will be happy too and we don’t see a repeat of his 3 Idiots fracas.)
However, what Kapoor doesn’t have is cameraman Jason West, whose cinematography was one of the key factors in Rock On!! His work was brooding, grainy, layered, alluring; it made the film. We’ll have to live with his absence.
As for the phrase ‘kai po che’, loosely translated as ‘It’s cut!’ It’s a term from the world of kite-flying, a game that’s very popular in Ahmedabad, where the story is based. The phrase is a war cry, one that marks a triumph. Here’s hoping it will be an apt title.
Bottomline: One Hindi film staple, a bromance; and one potential winner, cricket.
Kai Po Che
Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Raj Kumar Yadav, Amit Sadh, Amrita Puri
Director: Abhishek Kapoor
Releases: February 22