Review: Kai Po Che

Kai Po Che

These strands wouldn't even have been worth a mention in a less pleasing film. But Kai Po Che is such an unexpected delight that I wanted it all to be as good. I haven't seen such an insider's view of Ahmedabad in a while: even the mandatory dandiya is done without an ounce of peddling exotica. The characters don't feel as if they've been parachuted into the city; they live here, it is home. I liked the way none of them is made to sound exaggeratedly Gujju, just an occasional throwaway phrase is enough. Their clothes are daily apparel, not costumes. The bubbliness of the bright-eyed Amrita Puri, who plays sister to one of the boys, and sweetheart to another, is kept, rightly so, in check. Sadh and Rajput do strike a couple of preliminary poses but then settle into their parts. Manav Kaul, as Bittoo Mama, is excellent in the way he juggles matter-of-fact thuggery and menace. But the one who kept me watching all the way through is the wonderfully restrained Raj Kumar Yadav: there is not one place he puts a wrong foot forward.

Kapoor's Rock On had its moments, and I liked it, but Kai Po Che is so much better, despite its tired saffron-and-trishul-infused scenes, as well as those that show the too-familiar bloody rampage through the terrified-Muslim-housing-colony. This film rises beautifully above its faults. It does not allow simplicity to descend into simple-mindedness, as it transmits real emotions, and gives space to a stand-out performer. And the music from the Amit Trivedi-Swanand Kirkire combine spills out, into the tangled skeins of our lives : I have been humming rishton ka manjha non-stop since I walked out of the theatre.

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