As a writer, I am told, any story is about protagonists, their goals, the obstacles they face and the actions they take to overcome the obstacles. Talking of obstacles, a wicked villain mouthing dialogues like, "Tumhari maa aur behen meri kabze mein hai" is so a relic of the 80s. Khaandaan ki izzat, family honour, is outdated too. As is parental dushmani. Today, when parents are encouraging children to find love, when there are no dacoits in sight and dons are boring, obstacles come in the form of regrets, mistakes, quirks and obsessions of the characters.
Remember Piku? Or Dil Dhadakne Do? Both were about quirky characters and human fallibility, where characters created their own demons. Plus, of course, the magic of small moments. Likewise, Kapoor & Sons is about a flawed family where fault lines get exposed when characters come together.
Set in picturesque Coonoor, the story is soaked in limpid showers of love, moist clouds of emotions and ominous rumblings of resentment.
Mr and Mrs Kapoor (played by Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak Shah respectively) are struggling to save their marriage when their grown sons, Rahul (Fawad Khan) and Arjun (Sidharth Malhotra) arrive to visit their ailing Dadu (Rishi Kapoor). The simmering acrimony between brothers and parents unfolds as Tia (Alia Bhatt) gets caught between a handsome Rahul and an embittered Arjun. While the elder brother is weighed by a personal secret, the younger one is desperate to emerge from the shadows of his successful sibling. And then there is a dirty old Dadu (Rishi Kapoor), who is obsessed with a drenched Mandakini of yore.
While every character is endearing, the holy bubble that encapsulates them keeps getting punctured as secrets tumble out. Several parallel tracks merge to unfold a tale. Set in picturesque Coonoor, the story is soaked in limpid showers of love, moist clouds of emotions and ominous rumblings of resentment.
Any engaging movie has to be about the seductions of magical moments. Like when Mrs Kapoor cooks bhindi and Arjun makes a face, when Fawad finds cigarettes in a cassette, when Dadu asks for a credit card to watch porn on I-Papad (iPad), or when Tia helps Dadu cheat while playing cards.
I have to admit that while watching Fawad Khan in Khoobsoorat, I felt he was overrated. In Kapoor & Sons, I stand corrected. His debonair looks and sheer presence lend oodles of charisma to the screen. Sidharth Malhotra, as a second-best son in the film is equally impressive, if not more. With her impish smile, unbridled charm and glowing freshness, Alia Bhatt lights up the screen.
Much Piku belonged to Amitabh Bachchan, and Dil Dhadakne Do to Anil Kapoor, Kapoor & Sons belongs to Rishi Kapoor.
Ratna Pathak Shah as the new age mom is perfectly at ease with taking care of the family and yet wanting to be an entrepreneur in search of an identity. She is in sync when she is with her sons, but strikes a jarring note with Rajat Kapoor.
Much Piku belonged to Amitabh Bachchan, and Dil Dhadakne Do to Anil Kapoor, Kapoor & Sons belongs to Rishi Kapoor. Towards the end, you wonder how a porn-obsessed dirty old man can be so affable. However, his prosthetic make-up could have been toned down. The thick layers hide the twinkle of his eyes when he is having fun and the torment of his face when he is a helpless onlooker.
This is not to say that this Shakun Batra-directed movie is devoid of flaws. The film hinges on emotion but oftentimes the bickering between the Kapoor spouses is over-the-top. Despite these minor chinks, the film succeeds in leaving a merry wink and a moist eye. And I must mention that the song 'Ladki kar gayi chull' doesn't sound as nonsensical as it does on radio. It blends in like the imperfect yet warm characters. Overall, the film is not Oscar worthy, but it gave me a tripping good time.
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