Before we even begin, an apology is due. Not because of the fact that this film has been released some time back and our review is just coming out, but because of the fact that we have not been talking about it enough which is bewildering to us. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though…
Among the various trailers we got to watch this season, Kapoor and Sons (since 1921) was definitely intriguing. One that would immediately make you want to put it on your list. The characters looked fresh and interesting to begin with, the seemingly quirky relationships promised a meaningful story and the few fleeting scenes of intense drama projected a film that would have something for everyone. However, it wasn’t without a certain sense of skepticism that we followed our instincts to the theatres.
Kapoor and sons did not disappoint ! Dir. Shakun Batra has finally succeeded in doing what has been elusive in almost all Bollywood Dramas – Projecting life as it is without the forced cinematic makeover. Reminiscent of Silver Linings Playbook, this film is about a closely-knit dysfunctional family with a father, played by Rajat Kapoor, who is always disgruntled due to his failing business and a mother, played by Ratna Pathak, who is frustrated with the fact that her husband is not able to provide for the family anymore which, consequently, puts their relationship under strain. Unaffected by this everyday hoopla is the most colourful character you’d ever see in Indian Cinema ! Dadaji, played by our beloved Rishi Kapoor, is a cross between Jack Nicholson’s The Bucket List and Pacino’s Scent of a Woman to give you an idea but trust us, this doesn’t even come close to describing this character to die for! From his “marne ki practice” (practising to die) to his reference to sleazy videos as “bhajan sun raha hun yaar” (listening to religious music, my friend) on his iPapad (iPad), barely scratch the surface of the many moments that leave you in splits.
As Dadaji’s morbid antics give way to a real heart-attack, the sons of the Kapoor family are called home. Rahul Kapoor, played by Fawad Khan, is a successful writer in London while his younger brother Arjun, played by Sidharth Malhotra, is a struggling writer who works as a bartender in New Jersey to make ends meet. From the moment they step into their home, it becomes inadvertently clear that Rahul is the favourite one while Arjun is the irresponsible brat in the parents’ eyes. Seems like your regular run-of-the-mill family drama ? Well, it is in some ways but what sets it apart is the very simplicity with which it has been projected. The conversations over dinner, the simplest of mannerisms between characters are exceedingly natural and realistic leaving our overreaction-conditioned minds in awe. If you hid a cam-corder in a room and recorded the every day interactions of your typical middle-class family, you’d probably get a trailer of this film as a result ! Fawad’s inherent charm provides a lot to his character’s personality and accurately fits into the “big brother” image (step aside Mohnish Behl). Sidharth gives out a measured act but not too outside the range of his previous work. Having said that, the chemistry between the two brothers is very authentic and relatable. Again, kudos to Batra to be able to bring out these finer details so pivotally into the story. The only cliché that we could find in this story was the “Chull girl” Alia Bhatt who is randomly introduced into the story and becomes a source of contention between the brothers, thankfully leaving the primary storyline unaffected.
Another little nuance that really grabbed our attention was the stye of transition between conversations that were happening simultaneously in the story but were shown in a single scene. To give you an idea, have you ever had the feeling that when a particular scene is followed by another, you sometimes tell yourself – “Yeah right ! As if this scene was waiting for the previous one to get over. Both scenes should be happening simultaneously!” Not to confuse you, but you will definitely appreciate the brilliance of this cinematographic technique in Dadaji’s “B’day scene” where two different events happen at the same time and are shown exactly like that. This kind of unique cinematography beautifully captures the chaotic whirlpool of human emotions in all its essence.
With the backdrop of the enchanting valleys of Coonoor, Kapoor and sons packs life into a beautifully canvassed portrait. It is the story of every character in an old family photograph that you pick up one day and get nostalgic about. It makes you understand that no matter how far you stray away from your family, they are the only ones who would lend you a shoulder to cry on. They would always love you for who you are and always be there for you.
Shakun Batra, you have now arrived on our radar and you deserve it ! As artists say – The most difficult thing to paint is a ‘smiling person’. A real smile can never be reproduced on paper thanks to the hundreds of subtle nuances of the face. It is almost as difficult to portray the chemistry of a real family on screen convincingly with a story that is as close to heart as it can get. You, sir, have come close to perfection !
gobblpoint: Watch it with your families. There would be more than a few moments when you’d scream – “But that’s us !” Don’t miss what might probably be the best film this year !
Disclaimer: The image used in this blog is the sole property of the makers of this film and is not owned by us in any form whatsoever.