Kai Po Che, is not your typical Bollywood film. Adapted from Chetan Bhagat’s Novel The 3 Mistakes of My LifeKai Po Che is a beautiful coming-of-age story of friendship that reminds us that the choices we make in life have a powerful impact on our destiny.

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Set in the early 2000s in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Abhishek Kapoor’s (Aryan, Rock On!) third directorial film, Kai Po Che, centers around three ambitious young friends – visionary Ishaan (Sushant Singh Rajput), practical Govind (Raj Kumar Yadav) and serious Omi (Amit Sadh) – who have big dreams for their lives. The trio embark on opening a sporting goods shop and cricket training school that will hopefully produce India’s next cricket superstar and bring them fame and riches. During this adventure, Ishaan, Govind and Omi travel on their respective roads to self-discovery and learn the hard way that their dreams will not come true easily.

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Their loyalties to each other are tested by two real-life tragedies that struck Ahmedabad in the 2000s: a deadly earthquake in 2001 and the 2002 Hindu-Muslim riots. Amongst this bromance, a sweet and raw love story also emerges between Govind and Ishaan’s sister, Vidya, (Amrita Puri) which provides welcomed light-hearted moments.

Kai Po Che is undeniably captivating. This movie succeeds because of Kapoor’s superb direction against the backdrop of Anay Goswamy’s cinematography, which beautifully captures the historic Ahmedabad. Although there are only three songs in the film, Amit Trivedi’s blissful and soft music fits with the mood of the film perfectly.

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The film is driven by the exceptional performances from all three male leads who authentically bring to light their complex characters. However, it is Rajput’s raw and natural performance as Ishaan that completely draws the audience in. It’s a brilliant start to his film career that will definitely have him on the list of many directors in India.

The downside of Kai Po Che is that the film’s plot doesn’t pick up momentum until the last half-hour. Unfortunately, this doesn’t leave time to provide enough context to viewers who are unfamiliar with the modern history of Ahmedabad. Also, “Kai Po Che”, a Gujarati phrase spoken during kite flying festivals after one competitor uses his kite to strike down an opponent’s kite, isn’t the best title for the film. “Brothers for Life”, the English title used for the film’s world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this month, while more generic, is much more appropriate for this intimate tale of bromance.

Despite its slow start, the film makes it up to the audience with a powerful and emotional ending that hits all the right notes. Kai Po Che has something for everyone – friendship, young love, politics and of course, tons of cricket!  It’s a must see film that will appeal to even the Bollywood cynic in you.

Although it’s still early, I’ve put this film on my list as a Frontrunner for Best Picture at next year’s Indian Filmfare Awards!

UTV Motion Pictures releases Kai Po Che in North American theaters on February 22, 2013.

Rating: 3.5 stars /5 stars 

 

About the Author: Sheetal Nanda is a Toronto based lawyer, who focuses on film, television and music industries. She enjoys writing and blogging about film, television, and the legal aspects surrounding the entertainment and sports industries. Her favourite event in Toronto is the Toronto International Film Festival, which she has been attending since 2003. One of her most memorable experiences was as an entertainment correspondent on the Green Carpet for Cineplex Odeon at IIFA 2011 in Toronto.