I left the multiplex, quietly applauding KAPOOR & SONS. What a marvelous piece of art on screen. The last time I saw something of this magnitude and with an even colossal impact was JULIE, the 1975 Bollywood film. That film beautifully captured the life of an Anglo-Indian family, with all its highs and lows.
KAPOOR & SONS is about a family, headed by the 90-year-old grandfather played by Rishi Kapoor. This has to be Rishi Kapoor's best work on screen till date. As the grandfather, who dotes on his grandchildren and has a 'mad-cap' time with them, he is hilarious. Sitting on his wheelchair, he longs for attention from his son and daughter-in-law, but when he suffers a heart-attack, his grandsons come down from London and New Jersey respectively and the family has the time of their lives being together for some time. Or is it?
A special mention must be made of the casting director Panchami Ghavri who brings together a neat cast for Shakun Batra to wield his directorial baton. Batra gets even better after EK MAIN AUR EK TU
(2012). Right from Rishi Kapoor as the grandfather to the parents Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak-Shah and the sons Fawad Khan as Rahul Kapoor and Sidharth Malhotra as Aryan Kapoor to Alia Bhatt as Tia Singh to the other assorted characters, Panchami brings together delectable talent.
There's definitely something fresh in this casting that does not come across in the other films. You get that same old familiar feel in the other movies. Not here. This is fresh and peppy and lively and exciting.
I especially liked Batra's moments of handling high-tension scenes where tempers fly and he keeps a firm grip on the tempo that makes the scene hit out at you as though you are watching something happening 'live' in front of you. That's a rare quality and it takes immense talent to squeeze out scenes like those, not once but three times!
Alia Bhatt injects enthusiasm in the plot as Tia who is in Connur, Kerala, to rent out her huge farmhouse, where Aryan accidentally runs into her because of his friend and Rahul meets up with her to rent out her place. Unknown to the brothers and Tia, they both have feelings for her and things come to a head when Tia actually tells Aryan what happened between her and Rahul, one drunken night.
It all happens so fast and the plot is stitched perfectly together that it's as though a novel is unfolding in front of your eyes. There's not much focus on the romance between Alia Bhatt and Aryan but overall, Batra gives every character his or her space for the larger picture to come out. And when it does, towards the end, rising to a crescendo just like a musical piece coming to its climax, the angst of every character hits out at you. You realize that no one is perfect.
Alia Bhatt brings life onto the screen with her effervescent act. Her character takes a turn towards the end and the Bhatt babe superbly essays her range of emotions. Sidharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan both put in a fine performance as the brothers always getting at each other. Fawad, doted upon by his parents, is the son who can do no wrong, while Sidharth, is the enfant terrible.
The best part is that there are just two songs and it does not eat into the plot; it enhances the goings-on on screen. ''Badal chaa raha hai,''
says dadaji towards the end, ''Photo leni hai.''
He wants a family picture with the title Kapoor & Sons since 1921. Things are falling into place when the raindrops start falling.
''Sorry won't fix this Maa,'' says Aryan to his mother. ''I just want to be loved for who I am,'' Arjun tells his mother. ''I could have said, 'I love you', 'come soon','' Tia chokes on her tears!
KAPOOR & SONS is supple and smooth, with lots of rough edges and highs and lows. It's a perfect family movie.