It’s boy bonding all the way for the cast of the film Kai Po Che, based on yet another Chetan Bhagat book

They stride in — fashionably late, of course, and then allow themselves to be photographed. While, the cameras flash, they banter, laugh and joke among themselves.

I am struck by the easy friendship and camaraderie that they exhibit — it is almost as if they have shed their skin and become the characters they are supposed to be playing.

But perhaps that is all for the best, after all. Abhishek Kapoor, director of the movie Kai Po Che, which stars the three young men who have just walked in — Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh, and Raj Kumar Yadav, must certainly think so. “This is essentially a story about friendship,” he said, at a press interaction in Bangalore recently.

Based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel, The 3 Mistakes of My Life, it details the life of three friends living in Ahmadabad, Gujarat. “Kai Po Che is the victory call when someone cuts the kite and I thought it was metaphoric representation of the film itself,” says Abhishek, “Unlike Rock On (also directed by Abhishek) which has a more urban setting, this movie is about middle-class Indians — their aspirations are different, their dreams are different, their lifestyle is different. They are more reactive people with lots of raw passion and energy.”

For Raj Kumar Yadav, who plays the poor but ambitious Govind, becoming that middle-class Indian boy started with working on his accent — “I didn’t want it to seem forced, it had to sound real,” he says.

On his character, he admits that he really liked being Govind. “Like me, he is extremely focused and his priorities are very clear,” he says. “And frankly, I love portraying shades of grey.”

Sushant found it harder to relate to his character, Ishaan — a hot-headed, cricket-loving, somewhat rudderless young man. “But that is where the challenge as an actor is…to find that connect. Ishaan is a bundle of contradictions — he is impulsive, insecure almost insensitive, even myopic at times but he lives for his friends. I guess it is just that he isn’t sure of what he wants.”

Amit, who is Omi, the son of a priest with his rather blind religious convictions that often conflict with his basic good nature, loves the man he plays. “Omi is the sweetheart of the three friends,” he laughs. “The energy and innocence of this guy is amazing.” And his character evolves so much over the movie — there is this complete catharsis and you see him become a man.”

Abhishek adds that the choosing of these particular three actors, and not big stars to play the roles of the main characters, was a deliberate move: “I wanted fresh talent. That way there is less expectation, less baggage. The audience doesn’t see the star behind the actor — that makes it easy to breathe life into the story.”

Abhishek remarks, “I want this film to touch a pan India audience. While my audience may come from different states and have different opinions, I want them to come out of the movie feeling the same emotion towards our country.”

Kai Po Che is slated for release on February 22.

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