When you make an emotional film about real life people, the funda is simple – you need to have audience care for the characters. It may sound as simple as this, but there is a lot that needs to happens in the background to ensure that it all comes together neatly on screen.
This is where second time director Shakun Batra scores, and scores high. He brings an entire family together, sketches character of each one of them pretty well, gives them meaty parts to munch on, and then marshals his entire technical team well enough to ensure that you get to see a family which could actually be your own.
A tough task to achieve, and Shakun gets more than just distinction marks in making this happen.
As a matter of fact, full marks to Karan Johar for actually backing this drama and giving Shakun the kind of resources that he needed to put together Kapoor & Sons. To think of it, this one was a dicey subject on paper itself. A small town setting where each of the principle characters has a skeleton in the cupboard, the film could have turned out to be an overtly serious dramatic affair. This isn’t just all as the premise of a dysfunctional family had already been attempted last year with mega-budget film Dil Dhadakne Do, which by itself had met with mixed response and hadn’t covered much of a distance.
Still, Karan gave a go ahead to Kapoor & Sons, and Shakun more than just delivered as per promise by making Kapoor & Sons which is simply a lesson on how realistic entertainment should be brought on screen.
The maturity with which he narrates this tale gets you attached to the family of Kapoors within first 20 minutes itself. Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak as a couple could be your next door squabbling neighbors. Their sons Fawad Khan and Sidharth Malhotra could just be one amongst you. As for the ‘dadaji’ of the house, visit a house in Lajpat Nagar or Janak Puri in Delhi, and rest assured you would have a Rishi Kapoor kind of character in there. On the other hand, who wouldn’t like to have a friendly neighbor in the form of Alia Bhatt who would be glad to let you step into a house party and jig to the tune of ‘Kar Gayi Chull’.
It is these very characters, their back stories, their secrets, their happiness, their worries, their relationships and their desires that make Kapoor & Sons a film that you can so very much relate to. What makes this film an experience no less is the manner in which Shakun, his actors and his technical team film the scenes, especially the ones where all family members are together. Typically in other films, such scenes, in an attempt to go natural, at times go overboard and get on your nerves in just 30-45 seconds flat. However, Shakun manages to hold your attention for good 3-4 minute long scenes, and that too at least thrice, which is superb.
On the other hand each of the actors plays his part so perfectly well. Rishi Kapoor is adorable as the Mandakini lover dadaji, who never ever gets into a sermonizing mode, something that is otherwise a norm in films belonging to this genre. He is a revelation yet again and shows he has so much more to give as an actor. Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak seem like a real life couple and are just so perfect in their act, especially the former who never registers one wrong note. Fawad Khan is excellent and many steps ahead of Khoobsurat. He is someone you really want to hang out with.
As for Sidharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt, they make you forget that just a few years back they had started their career together as Students of the Year! They are totally different characters in a different situation and this is where their win lies as actors. Sidharth impresses a big deal with his dialogue delivery while Alia ensures that you go beyond her cute avtar. On the other hand, their two friends – a photo studio owner and his younger body builder brother – are good assets too.
That said, in Kapoor & Sons, Dharma and Fox have yet again found an asset that they would love to cherish for years in succession. This is a film that would live on for many more years to come, and would settle down as one of the finest family drama entertainers to have been churned out on post-multiplex era.
Joginder Tuteja tweets @tutejajoginder