It’s only natural to associate Karan Johar with over-the-top, larger than life films that at times seem cheesy and joke-worthy. But you have to admit, the man knows how to make a mean family drama. Case in point: ‘Khabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’, ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’, and now ‘Kapoor & Sons’.
The best part of this 2.2 hour film is that it doesn’t feel like you’re watching a typical Bollywood movie. In fact, there’s nothing really “Bollywood’ about it apart from a few songs. It’s so relatable. You’ll walk away asking yourself ‘why did it take Rahul so long to tell his mom? What was Tia thinking that night in the shed?” They’re not just characters. They will feel more and more like your own family with each passing scene. And that’s the beauty of this film. It gives you all the feelings of Kabhi Khushi… without the crazy drama and nonsensical dialogues.
Shakun Batra, you’ve come a long way since the oh-so-forgettable ‘Ekk Main Aur Ekk Tu’. THIS is what modern-day cinema is all about! No tacky item songs, explicit scenes or things that will make you cringe. Finally, a clean family film! And a pretty good one at that.
Acting was a thumbs up all around. But Ratna Pathak (Sunita Kapoor), surprisingly, is this film’s unexpected show-stealer. She lit up the screen even in, what I thought was, the most unglamorous role of the film. The scene at the end with her & Fawad will have, even the toughest (wo)man, in tears.
Rajat Kapoor as “Harsh” was another gem of a performance. I’ll be honest, I’ve heard of his work, though I’ve seen very little of it. I remember interviewing him once at a film festival and because he seemed so unassuming, I mistakenly underestimated his acting caliber. After seeing the depth of his character in this film, I feel ashamed that such a tremendous talent totally went under my radar. He is brilliant even in scenes with little-no dialogue. So convincing was his character, I left the theater angry with him. And I still am (watch it and you’ll understand exactly why).
Now we come to the youngsters of the movie. Though still very young, I should say, Sid (Arjun) & Alia (Tia) have far outgrown their amateur performances from ‘Student of the Year’. They have blossomed into terrific actors. Sid I was impressed with ever since ‘Ek Villain’. He proved he can believably play even the most layered character. And Alia has been praised by even the toughest critics ever since her breakout role in ‘Highway’. They both add a great deal of freshness & charm to this film. Their rumored real-life relationship has worked wonders towards their onscreen chemistry.
Fawad as ‘Rahul’ is a pleasant surprise. I was far-from-crazy about him after watching ‘Khoobsurat’. He appeared expressionless in a mindless film even Himesh Reshammiya could have acted in. I thought there would be no coming back from that. But I was wrong. His performance this time around was mature and impactful.
Looking back on the film, I imagine a comical narration of this script by Shakun to Sid & Fawad. I can imagine Fawad’s role being one that neither wanted to play but Fawad, being the unlucky soul, was suckered into it by losing one too many ‘rock, paper, scissor’ matches. Nevertheless, he played it compellingly, and that is no easy task! (spoiler omitted: again I say, watch the film!)
Last but not least, Rishi Kapoor as DADU! This film reminded me why I love Rishi ji so much. He’s incredibly charming even as an old, wrinkly grandpa. Comic relief was given by him at times when it was desperately needed. Thank God for that! He warmed my heart and made me laugh so hard my cheeks hurt. But, don’t discount him based on what you see in the trailers! His character was the foundation of this shattered family. His effort in bringing the family back together brought tears to my eyes. Amongst all the good-looking eye candy in this film, he was the real ‘hero’. No questions asked.
This movie’s soundtrack is stellar! All the songs are fantastic from the hit party track ‘Kar Gayi Chull’ to the slower melodies like ‘Bolna’. Each song fit seamlessly into the narrative and was an absolute treat! I haven’t bought a CD in a long time, but this is one I wouldn’t mind buying if I came across it at an Indian store.
Also noteworthy was cinematography & editing done by Jeffery Bierman & Shivkumar Panicker respectively.
All in all, the film was great! Could have been a bit shorter but nothing painful to sit through. I could easily watch it again for a date night or just a relaxing evening at home with the family. This film doesn’t preach or dig too far into touchy subjects. The only thing this film apologetically does, is show us a ‘real’ modern day, dysfunctional family in all its beauty.
By: Jessica Thomas