Chetan Bhagat’s Mani Ratnam-type formula of raucous youthfulness turning seriously dramatic after a life-changing catastrophe, works again. This time in Abhishek Kapoor’s adaptation of Bhagat’s fast-seller, The 3 Mistakes Of My Life.
The plot: With a three-buddy backdrop like 3 Idiots, Kai Po Che has the complete menu for a buffet of emotions. Cheers and tears, bonding and blood thirst, revelry and rivalry, passion and politics, and cricket and cracks everywhere – right from earth-splitting tremors and religious divides to breakups in buddydom, are all mixed and stirred with expertise.
It’s peacetime in Ahmedabad for three close friends, Ishaan, Govind and Omi (Sushant Singh, Raj Kumar Yadav, Amit Sadh) whose bonds are strong, their antics bursting with rudderless energy. When their quest to achieve something leads them to set shop for sporting equipment and start a teaching academy, Omi’s maternal uncle, politician Bittu Joshi, helps out with a loan, a shop and a sports ground near the temple compound. Ishaan pitches in with his passion for cricket, Govind loves Maths and Omi has to pay back his uncle by helping him with his political work. Life’s a fun ride and it’s a victorious kai po che (the delighted cries when a kite is cut in air) until an earthquake sends tremors down their spine and just when they start facing reality, the Sabarmati Express and Godhra carnages make the bonds yo-yo violently.
The good: It works because it’s well-told by Abhishek Kapoor (proving happily that Rock On! was not a flash in the pan) who cajoles impeccable performances out of every player on his team. The outstanding freshness of the lead cast keeps it realistic and brings a new vigour to the plot. The supporting cast, including Ishaan’s sister, Vidya (Amrita Puri) who is forward with the awkward Govind, and the background sets and spots, combine to give it the authentic flavour of Gujarat.
Interestingly shot by Anay Goswami, even dark corners and cramped up nooks are brought alive by the camerawork.
The bad: Whatever happened to Abhishek’s Rock On! ear for chartbusting music? At least one thumping hit number (music: Amit Trivedi) would have helped to liven it up. The second half perks up perceptibly in pace even if too much happens as it hurtles towards the climax.
Overall: Those with an unquenchable fascination for the Gujarat pogrom will be drawn to it. A complete multiplex delight.
– Bharathi S Pradhan