Saturday, 21 May 2016

Kapoor & Sons

Even though it has been a long time that I read them, I have never quite got over Jim Butcher’s words which claim “there’s nothing that makes you more insane than family. Or more happy. Or more exasperated. Or more… secure.” 

And his words have always evoked questions like what makes our families special. Or for that matter what is it that, at times, takes away that specialty from them? Is it the bond of blood, which prompts something to rise deep within us or fall, which in turn decides whether we remain loyal or break away from homes? Is it the sense of belonging that is nurtured right from our birth which beckons us to be with the families we have and when the curtains fall to look for a familiar hand of affection from among its members? These are a few existential questions that the movie ‘Kapoor and Sons’ seeks to answer. And it may not be suddenly visible to the casual member of the audience. You have to partake in the accomplishments, celebrations, lies and mistakes that the characters live in the reel to get a sense of its deeper message. At the same time it must be said that the movie doesn’t make any outrageous attempt to fix what is broken through cliched characters and events. Rather, in a very relatable manner, it asks us to see beyond each other’s imperfections and our failings and hold on to those ties we have build with each other over years and love and struggle, and forgive our blunders and embrace each other for all times, before it is too late. Because in the film, it actually gets too late for the characters.

Fawad Khan and Sidharth Malhotra are brothers living diagonally different lives in London and New Jersey. While Fawad is established as a successful author, Sidharth is still struggling with his career. Somehow he already knows that his calling lies in written words but lacks the courage to pursue his aspirations, all the while under a mistaken belief that he isn’t good enough, not atleast as his elder brother, blame it on an unforgivable act of deception committed by his most ardent well wisher.

Back home, their family has three more members: Daddu (Rishi Kapoor), father Harsh (Rajat Kapoor) and mother Sunita (Ratna Pathak Shah). A call about 90-year-old Daddu brings both brothers home. The family has its moments of fun, joy, suspicion and insecurities. The members congratulate, join hands and even smile. At the same time, they also throw stuff at one another right under the view of a hundred invitees during a family party. They plan, hope, and struggle to live upto those hopes and fight aggressively with nothing held back. Now that’s one dysfunctional family. But the beauty of their bond lies in how they stick around despite the most distasteful of situations prevailing under their roof.
The lead actors, particularly Fawad Khan, won my heart by his memorable acting.This movie has indeed brought to the fore his potential as an artist. There is such restraint and humility in his performance that one cannot help but surrender to the bitter sweet memories he weaves by it. I am a big fan of Rajat Kapoor’s work right from Dil Chahta Hai. There is so much honesty in the fiction that he depicts that he always invariably brings me to believe him. Ratna Pathak is a legend and we all know that. The failure of their characters’ marriage consequent to the loss of happiness and love, consequent to mistakes committed is too well portrayed by the two. You can’t really decide if the movie stands on the shoulders of the younger leads or of these two. Someone has rightly pointed out after watching the film that Rajat Kappor and Ratna Pathak need a separate movie to themselves. Rishi Kapoor is great as the unabashed grandpa. But the movie is really not about any specific member, rather it’s about the image of wholesomeness they together represent and how that image fades in the absence of even one of them.

In the end, it’s all over for some hopes and the tragedies stay with us. But then, isn’t that how life works?

The soundtrack is hummable. And I’m sure this would come as no surprise that I still can’t stop listening to Saathi Re. There’s a line in the song which says ‘केहना था और क्या क्या तुझे, नींद क्यों गयी फिर तुझे’. And the only feeling it brought was that we should never let go of our loved ones regardless of their weakness, follies, imperfections and wrongs. Nothing can salvage a broken bond if the right dose of love does not replace the hurt we sometimes leave behind for the ones we love.

The movie manages to break heart and mend it just like life. It is by far the best made movie in 2016. My best wishes to the director Shakun Batra. Congratulations to him for making a predictable story line so memorable on screen.

This post wouldn’t be complete if I don’t thank my friend Lopamudra Mohapatra for literally shoving me into the theaters to watch this. Perhaps I underestimated your knowledge of my inclination during the argument about whether I would or won’t like this kind of movie. Perhaps, even after all these years and distractions you still remember everything.
I owe this one to you.

To everyone else who hasn’t seen the movie, watch it. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry and at times you’ll end up doing both. In short, you’d get a lasting taste of life.