Friday, 1 March 2013

Kai Po Che!: Something Missing Che (6)!

Kai Po Che fails is all about half measures: Here’s analysing what’s Missing Che (6)

Okay, first things first and to give the devil its due – Kai Po Che is a nice, endearing, clean and sweet film in today’s times crassy ‘Murders’, massy ‘Bol Bachchans’ and thrashy ‘Ghaziabads’.

The plot and premise is refreshing (for those who haven’t read the book). And the cast is lively, earnest and effective.

And now, here’s straightaway coming to the Missing Che (6).  Che i.e. 6 Reasons or shortfalls which pull down this ‘good and clean effort’ from being the ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ of this decade. Or perhaps yet another 3 Idiots kinda blockbuster that too was inspired by a Chetan Bhagat bestseller.

What’s Missing Che (6) in Kai Po Che?

1.      For any male-bonding movie, it is essential to establish the camaraderie between its key protagonists before moving on to their conflicts and turmoil. Kai Po Che fails to strike home this chord. Unlike a DCH, which had a collage of magical moments (including the cult road trip to Goa…which is now in the wish-list of every damn alpha male), or even a Rock-On!! which had some heart-tugging camaraderie moments, Kai Po Che never manages to establish this die-hard dosti amidst its lead troika. Yes the tag-line goes ‘Brothers…for life’, but there isn’t much meat to establish this essential feature in the movie. At its core, the relationship between the buddies remains strictly transactional and business-business.


2.       The cast is dew-fresh. The director had all the opportunity to flesh-out their characterizations, their finer nuances, dissimilarities and quirks. However, eventually all the characters end up being half-baked. You never truly root for any one of the character or its dilemma, aspirations, victories or defeats. And mind you, this is where the book ‘3 mistakes of my life’ did a fantastic job in establishing all the characters – be it Govind, Ishaan, Omi, Vidya, Bittoo Mama or even Ali. The movie also drops many an interesting characters like the sly and suave Parekhji (imagine this could’ve been a saucy negative role) or even the endearing Govind’s mother.


3.      The director chooses to drop-off some of the most interesting and entertaining parts of the book, to possibly make it much tighter and engrossing. However, unfortunately in the bargain, he ends up making this a very grim and dry affair. So here’s the most interesting shortcoming of the movie. While the book was not a really a literary treat, it had great potential for a typical Bollywood romcom with elements like an Australian vacation, some delicate moments of a clandestine romance and an interesting gate-crashing into Team Australia! However, the director chops-off these elements (budget constraints?) and robs the movie of some its possibly delightful moments.


4.      Delightful moments? Oh yes, that brings us to another key missing aspect – an imaginative screenplay. Do we know, why, where and how 3 idiots completely changed the game? And elevated the movie much beyond the book? It was in its imaginative screenplay. That’s where an intelligent writer-director like Raju Hirani exhibited his true strengths in tweaking and adding new dimensions to a super-successful book. Hirani added generous doses of humour, an effective voice-over from Madhavan that provided some of the best one-liners in key situations and the enigmatic characterization of Rancho. It is here that Hirani took great liberty in adding newer elements to the movie alongside the core theme of the book. It is here that Abhishek Kapoor fails in Kai Po Che. The movie has zero humour (though there was lots of scope for it) or playing to the gallery moments. There is no smart voice-over. It’s an almost ultra-drab representation of the book.


5.      Do we remember the single most important character in last year’s sleeper hit ‘Kahaani’? No, not Vidya Balan or Bob or the cops. The most important character was the city of Kolkata! Kahaani offered a great ringside view of the sights, smells and feel of Kolkata. Delhi was a key character in ‘No one killed Jessica’ or ‘Khosla ka Ghosla’. Mumbai played an equally key character as Bhiku Mahatre in ‘Satya’. Kai Po Che is set in the seductively beautiful city of Ahmedabad or Ambavad (for the locals). But nowhere do we feel the colours or vivacity of this city. As indicated earlier, the visuals in Kai Po Che remain largely monotone, monochromatic, dark and, dare I say, boring!


6.      And finally, the most crucial missing link in this entire underwhelming adventure. The music! Three songs in the entire Kai Po Che soundtrack. One (Manjha) that has stuck-on to our minds due to continuous hammering on the tube and two other forgettable numbers (Meethi Boliyan and Shenai). For a movie/book of this canvas, it called for an extravagant soundtrack (more like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam). However, surprisingly, Kai Po Che suffers badly due to the absence of a good, solid, hummable and breezy soundtrack. Last year’s multiple average films like Cocktail, Student of the Year and Khiladi 786 were largely propelled due to their catchy music. Even Abhishek Kapoor’s earlier Rock-On!! had a winning soundtrack. What then compelled him to settle for just three songs and no youth favourites in Kai Po Che will remain a mystery bigger than Robert Vadra’s sudden accumulation of wealth.

To sum it up – while Kai Po Che is finding critical and audience acclaim, it ends up being a sum total of many half measures of what it could’ve been. While it’s debatable whether the movie is better than the book or vice versa (for me, definitely the book was much better), Kai Po Che is sadly not the Dil Chahta Hai revisited I was so keenly waiting for.


  1. that's a killer review; totally loved it.

  2. Thanks a bunch Priya! Will look forward to more comments from you. All Da Best!