Set in Coonoor (It’s an awesome place. Visit.), Kapoor and Sons is easily the best Dharma film since My Name Is Khan. It has all the ingredients of a good film: popular actors, terrific actors, a beautiful story, nice music. The Kapoor household comprises five individuals: the cheeky Dadu (Rishi Kapoor), the always-at-loggerheads parents (Rajat Kapoor & Ratna Pathak Shah) and the brothers Rahul and Arjun (Fawad Khan & Sidharth Malhotra respectively). Dil Dhadakne Do also dealt with a dysfunctional family but Kapoor and Sons is easily a much better film. The family comes together after a long time after Dadu suffers a heart attack just short of his ninetieth birthday. Dad and Mom are busy yelling at each other and the brothers too get into the act. The arrival of Tia (Alia Bhatt) somewhat lightens up the film, which carries a lot of intensity in its first couple of scenes, leave the ones with the rather lovable Dadu. A variety of interesting sub plots which carry the film beautifully. To give you a slight gist of what the family in the film is about, I quote Fawad Khan’s Rahul: Iss family mein sab jhoot bolte hain. Almost everyone has something to hide.
1. DIRECTION: Shakun Batra does a marvellous job in the director’s chair. He gives each character time to fulfill its potential. There is no forceful throwing in of scenes just for the fun of it. Patience is a great virtue, apparently, and one which I wish I possessed. Shakun Batra has loads of it and it shows in the film. He doesn’t let it get dreary or boring either. His treatment of the film is marvellous.
2. STORY/SCREENPLAY: The story is interesting. Bollywood doesn’t do interesting experiments any more. Generally speaking. Filmmakers like to stick to the tried, tested and surprisingly successful formula of exotic locales, big names, tons of promotions and stuff like that. In the midst of all that crap, Kapoor & Sons is amazing. The script carries a lot of different flavours: anger, humour, drama but none of it goes over the top. Carrying the story easily is the effortless screenplay. And that one scene where a fight erupts between the Kapoor parents and sons in front of the plumber is one of the most hilarious points of a brilliant screenplay.
3. MUSIC: Some beautiful music. From the cheeriness of Buddhu Sa Mann and Kar Gayi Chull to the more serious Bolna and Saathi Rey, Kapoor & Sons has a wonderful album.
4. CINEMATOGRAPHY: Jeffrey Bierman’s cameras do a wonderful job of capturing the hills of Coonoor. The cinematography is top-notch. Kar Gayi Chull deserves a special mention. It is wonderfully captured, despite the cramped surroundings.
5. PERFORMANCES: Backed by extremely good performances. Not one actor faltered. Ratna Pathak Shah once again delivered as the Mom. She was exceptional in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. Only here there was no portrait to chat with. She was great, as the doting mother and fuming wife. Alia Bhatt brought a nice bit of warmth and cheer to the film. She has really grown as an actor and surprises the audience in one particular scene. Rajat Kapoor. That man is a legend. What can you say about an actor who held his own in a film where Tabu and Ajay Devgn delivered brilliant performances. He’s the guy who can never have a bad day. Fawad Khan too struck gold. A rather layered performance as the preferred child of the family. As the plot unravels, Fawad displays amazing adaptability. Kapoor & Sons is easily Sidharth Malhotra’s best performance till date. He really holds his own in a film with actors of proven ability. Rishi Kapoor is terrific as the ninety year old, porn-watching, joint-smoking Dadu. His toilet and gobar jokes really crack you up. And the emotional connect he brings to the film is touching, to say the least. Kudos to Greg Cannom for the exceptional make-up! For me, the stand-out scene from the film was when Dadu, with a mud pack, chats with his grandsons and even shares a joint with them, along with the one where Dadu carries the cutout of Mandakini from Ram Teri Ganga Maili, which incidentally happens to have been directed by Raj Kapoor.
Karan Johar seems to have evolved as a producer. Kapoor & Sons is almost disconnected from most of Dharma’s films. Watch it, you’re likely to leave with a lump in your throat and your mind racing. Especially the final frame, which is beautiful.
My rating for Kapoor & Sons: 9/10
Varun Bhakay Writing 2016