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Kapoor & Sons review: Family drama at its best

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 18/03/2016
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Kapoor & Sons

Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Rajat Kapoor, Ratna Pathak Shah, Fawad Khan, Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt

Director: Shakun Batra

Rating: 4/5

There’s a strong Karan Johar impression on 'Kapoor & Sons,' but that is expected. After all, he is the producer of the film.

But what we didn’t expect was the finesse with which director Shakun Batra has narrated a predictable story. You may find 'Kapoor & Sons' a rehash of some Dharma Productions’ films, but the treatment makes it an engaging 140-minute film.

Rahul (Fawad Khan) and Arjun Kapoor (Sidharth Malhotra) are brothers living entirely different lives in London and New Jersey.

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While Rahul is established as a successful writer, Arjun is still struggling to find his true calling. Back home in Coonoor, their family has three more members: Daddu (Rishi Kapoor), father Harsh (Rajat Kapoor) and mother Sunita (Ratna Pathak Shah). A call about 90-year-old Daddu brings both brothers home.

It’s a dysfunctional family which doesn’t think twice before yelling or throwing an angry cookie jar at each other. And no, they don’t do it in jest.

In all seriousness, the Kapoor family is sitting on a ticking time bomb. And then enters Tia (Alia Bhatt), the potential trigger.

But, are we not looking at a typical Bollywood family film here?

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Well, here begins the director’s meticulous planning. The writers of the film, Shakun Batra and Ayesha Devitre Dhillon, have done a fabulous job in providing every major character a chance to flourish. Rahul’s character grows, so does Arjun’s. Tia takes center-stage, but without cutting into someone else’s breathing space.

The screenplay keeps gaining momentum. There are times when Batra eases out pressure, but only to keep the safety valve from blowing up. When you meet Rishi Kapoor’s character, you immediately realise his love for theatrics, but you also see a method in his madness. His irrepressible desire to watch porn can’t conceal his longing for a family photo

Unfortunately, his enthusiasm for life isn’t contagious as Harsh and Sunita are struggling hard to save their marriage. But, it’s something based on trust and breach of that trust may result in permanent damage.

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Similarly, not everything is right between the brothers, especially when the younger one has grown up in the shadow of a perfect, successful big brother.

What begins at the dinner table is deep rooted in their psyche and began years ago, before they realised the monster that was approaching their lives.

And now the elephant is in the middle of the drawing room but no one knows how to deal with it.

Just when the audience begins to laugh at the absurdity of a plumber trapped in the middle of a family fight, it becomes so emotionally violent that they start recognising the familiarity of the proceedings.

This is entirely Batra’s success who has given the characters a reason to hate each other, unlike most Bollywood films where conflict meets resolution without much hassle.

The language Fawad, Alia and Sidharth speak in the film is true to their character graphs: Very urban in nature yet restrained and suitable for a place like Coonoor.

The kissing scene between Fawad Khan and Alia Bhatt has such a good build-up that it doesn’t look dramatic even a bit. Their sexual connotation-laden conversation is so apt that you can fit any two young faces there.

Ratna Pathak as a jealous and tired housewife is a treat to watch. The emotions float on her face yet you can see the real person behind it. She, along with Fawad Khan, is the pick of the actors.

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Fawad Khan is like a dormant volcano, simmering from the inside. After a while, you expect him to go for controlled eruption, but he surprises you by going all out. His capabilities as an actor are on a full display in 'Kapoor & Sons.'

Alia Bhatt is that piece of cheese that makes the sandwich lustworthy. There is a scene between Alia and Sidharth Malhotra where she narrates a past incident and that completely chaffs out the innocent chirpiness we associate with her from her character. Needless to say that she has done justice to her role.

Sidharth Malhotra has also understood the required nuances. Fawad, Alia and Sidharth have a lovable chemistry which will make you sit and notice, but from an objective distance.

For the want of a better term, 'Kapoor & Sons' is an emotional roller coaster. It’s a tear jerker for sure, but also features the intricacies of a middle class life.

No dark secrets here, but the shock value is definitely there. You’ll love it for being spontaneous, precise, fast-paced and well lovable. A fantastic family drama after a long time.

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