By Ayesha Babar
‘It’s a family film’ is probably the second most abused phrase in Bollywood after the ‘we are just friends’ line. It is always with some scepticism, then, that I go watch a film for which the word ‘family’ has been thrown around during the promotions so much. But Shakun Batra and team bowled me and scepticism over within the first thirty minutes of the film!
The Kapoors are just like your regular family. There is Daadu (Rishi Kapoor) who is the light-hearted head of the family, the Mom and Dad (Ratna Pathak Shah and Rajat Kapoor), the perfect elder son, Rahul (Fawad Khan) and the younger son Arjun (Sidharth Malhotra)who is struggling to come out of the shadow of the older brother. They have all come together after many years. Daadu is unwell and the parents cannot stop bickering about finances with some hints towards infidelity thrown in.
It’s the relationships that we don’t get to choose that most often bring the most joy or sadness into our lives and it is no different with the Kapoor family. The basic plot might not seem novel but it is the script and the direction and the treatment of the story that make Kapoor and Sons such a treat to watch. Shakun Batra’s modern take on the Indian family (or any desi family really), which wanders far away from the Sooraj Barjatiya type will warm the cockles of your heart.
Kapoor and Sons also shows what a difference good writing can make. There is little melodrama and the story flows from one scene to the next. A special mention to the dialogue writer for keeping it real – the dialogues are witty, simple and most importantly honest.
For once the characters are so beautifully etched and layered – as Fawad says ‘ yahan koi bhi doodh ka dhula naheen hai’ (no one is without fault). In fact, it is these flaws that make the characters so easily likeable. When they are in pain, you cry for them. When they are happy, you smile and laugh.
Watching the Kapoors on screen makes you feel that they are a part of your family. The scenes could very well and probably have been situations that you have lived through. As Sid’s character tells Alia – ‘my family doesn’t behave like this, well, correction, my family doesn’t behave like this in public’.
The casting of the film works tremendously well in its favour. Rishi, Ratna, Rajat and Fawad all excel in their roles. If I had to choose my favourite bits they would have to be the interaction between Ratna and Fawad. The actors bring so much love and pain to the relationship of mother and son that you cannot help but feel the realness of the situation. Sidharth and Alia’s breezy chemistry will make you smile – It is those unfinished sentences and the half smiles that make for some of my favourite bits in the second half.
This one holds up to the promise of an entertaining film for the whole family. The Kapoors will leave you with smile on your face that will last a while. Shakun and Karan Johar prove that is it still ‘All about loving our family – but this time with all their flaws!’