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Abhishek Kapoor: When I read The 3 Mistakes Of My Life, I found that I could sink my teeth into the story. The book is about friendship, love, cricket, religion, politics and more than anything else, he has woven a fictional story around two real events that hit Gujarat around 2002 — the earthquake and the Godhra riots. For me, this was a great opportunity to tell a believable story. What attracted me the most were the characters and I focussed on the theme of friendship. Since Rock On!! also had a friendship theme, I was apprehensive about repetition, but while Rock On!! had an urban, rock music backdrop, this is set against the backdrop of a hardcore middle (class) India.
As a director, what were the challenges of translating this book into a film?
AK: We spent two-and-a-half-years working on its screenplay whereas if I had picked up something simpler, I would have churned out a film within a year's time. When I started writing the screenplay, I had to drop a lot from the book which led to a vacuum that had to be filled with new, valuable material. Eventually, the screenplay stands independent of the book, but it is also derivative of it as the characters are the same but with more dimensions.
Siddharth, as a producer, was there a risk in casting new faces — Sushant Singh Rajput, Raj Kumar and Amit Sadh?
SRK: Initially, you do think of casting known names but Kai Po Che is a story of three friends trying to find their way in life where one role is not more significant than the other. Casting known names for such a film becomes difficult as even younger actors are concerned about how they would be projected vis-a-vis the other two. Then, you tend to compensate and mould the script around them which is not something we wanted to do. So we decided to make this film with fresh talent, and it is an incredible cast.