Kapoor & Sons helmed by Shakun Batra is an engaging family drama that tells us about intricacies of human relationships and family ties by portraying a tale of dysfunctional family through its well etched characters in an apt manner. Mind you, Kapoor & Sons is not cut out for those who find entertainment in typical Bollywood commercial potboilers as it is a movie with a difference. The movie moves at its own sweet pace and doesn't play to the galleries, at all. It took me a while to digest the fact that this a Dharma Productions film. Dharma Productions is known to make films that are filled with grandeur, opulent sets, over-the-top melodrama and razzmatazz of the elite class. Thankfully, Kapoor & Sons steers away from all these and comes across as a realistic piece of cinema with some earnest performances. The film brushes upon several topics during the course of its run-time that include sibling rivalry, adultery, parenting and above all human inadequacies. Shakun Batra has invested heavily in his characters and situations while crafting this tale which makes this family drama refreshing. The characters, their respective journeys and especially their shortcomings have been so cogently penned down that they seem very relate-able. A movie about a dysfunctional family could have easily gone overboard but to his credit, Shakun manages to keep the proceedings in tight reign. And, in this he is ably supported by the entire starcast who have essayed their characters with firm conviction. From the promos, it was looking as if it is a movie about two brothers fighting over the same girl which is not the case, at all. The best part about the movie is that it chooses to talk about the human inadequacies or the grey areas which is a rare phenomenon in mainstream Bollywood films. Each one out of us has his or her grey areas which this film tries to bring out from its characters and this aspect of the movie makes it very relate able. The movie in a subtle way hints that everyone makes mistakes in a family but its never too late to admit them. The movie talks about flaws of parenting as at times, parents love and support one kid more than the other(s), hence developing a feeling of animosity between siblings. They generally call one of their kids as the golden child while the other child develops a feeling of being irresponsible child and how he grows up with that feeling. The film also talks about the sexual preferences (same sex) but in such a matured and subtle way that has never been witnessed on Indian celluloid before. It also talks about how because of constant nagging & quarreling in a marriage, a person can go wrong and develop extra marital relations which is ethically wrong. The movie also features a delightful character in the form of a grandfather who at times like to smoke weed and watch porn. In short, it is these imperfect characters who together put up a great show to make this movie sound perfect.
The story as well as screenplay of the movie has been penned down by Shakun Batra along with Ayesha Dhillon. A story about a dysfunctional family where husband-wife are always at loggerheads, two brothers who don't share a cordial equation is nothing new but the way, writers have etched out the characters and situations in this movie is commendable. What makes this tale rise above the rest is the freshness in its approach to narrate the shortcomings of human(s) and how some wrong decisions or actions of individuals leave permanent imprints or scars on human minds and hearts. The writers deserve the due credit for penning down this intrinsic mature tale which delves deep unto human psyche. It's not that the movie doesn't have its share of flaws but the earnest performances from its prolific cast (in identifiable characters), override those glitches. The movie begins in Coonoor where Harsh (Rajat Kapoor) is living with his wife Sunita (Ratna Pathak Shah) and his father Dadoo (Rishi Kapoor). Harsh and Sunita don't get along well and have their share of marital problems. They have two kids, the older being Rahul (Fawad Khan) who is a successful writer based in London and is mostly referred to as the ideal son. The younger son is Arjun (Sidharth Malhotra) who is also an aspiring writer but presently working as a part-time bartender in New Jersey. Dadoo suffers a heart attack and both the grandsons rush back to India to be with their ailing grandfather. Both the brothers don't have a cordial relationship as the younger one feels that parents have always considered the elder one to be their ideal child.Meanwhile in Coonoor, a chirpy young girl Tia (Alia Bhatt) walks in and befriends both the brothers adding fuel to the fire. While all the family members are far from being picture perfect with each of them concealing their own share of lies, it is only Dadoo who is full of life. He has seen Raj Kapoor's Ram Teri Ganga Maili umpteen times just to watch Mandakini taking a shower under the waterfall. He has a wish to get a photograph clicked featuring all the members of his family in it. What transpires hereafter, is for you to go and watch at a theater near you.
Fawad Khan stands out amongst others with his meticulous act in the movie. Fawad is literally spot-on every time, he appears on-screen. Fawad has essayed the finer nuances of his character perfectly. Fawad looks totally convincing as the confident achiever who is hiding a trait of his personality from his family. When his mother comes to know about truth, you see the emotional side of Fawad coming in forefront. And, those emotional scenes are a testament to the acting prowess of Fawad Khan. SIMPLY BRILLIANT.
Sidharth Malhotra is pitch perfect as Arjun in this movie. Quite like his last outing Brothers, here too Sidharth gets to play a character who is kind of considered underdog in front of his elder brother and Sidharth simply nails it, once again. Arjun was not an easy character to portray as he has grudges with his brother for copying his content that he penned down for a book and also feels that his parents have always given preferential treatment to his elder brother but to his credit, Sidharth has enacted the character with fair sense of conviction.
Rishi Kapoor is outstanding in the movie and he brings the house down with his delightful act. The movie is lent most of its hilarious moments by Dadoo which has been efficaciously enacted by Rishi Kapoor. He is proving to be one of the most versatile actors that we have in Indian Film fraternity.
Alia Bhatt is growing as an actor with every subsequent film of hers. She not only lights up the screen every time she appears but also wins you over with her charming act in the movie. Not only does Alia hold her ground as the chirpy Tia but she bowls you over with her emotional act when she reveals her traumatic past to Arjun.
Rajat Kapoor proves what natural and effortless acting is all about with his impeccable act in Kapoor & Sons. His act looks so real and convincing as the hapless husband who is fed up of his wife's constant nagging that you could walk-into his shoes.
Ratna Pathak Shah excels as Sunita Kapoor in the movie.
The musical soundtrack of the movie that has been composed by Amaal Mallik, Badshah, Arko is chartbusting material. The cinematographer of the movie is Jeffery F. Bierman who has done an excellent job at capturing the vistas. Jeffery has not only captured the scenic locales of Coonoor with aplomb but more importantly, his camera often glides through the psyche of his characters bringing out their turmoil, guilt and confrontation to the forefront. The movie has been edited by Shivkumar V Panicker who has kept the run-time of the movie to 140 minutes. As a writer-director, Shakun Batra has crafted the story with great sensitivity. The best part about the movie is that the movie comes across as a authentic one which is a big achievement for any director. The audience can relate themselves or any of their acquaintances with any of the characters in the movie which speaks volumes about the way, Shakun has helmed the movie. Though, its a family drama but Shakun never lets the proceedings go over the top or melodramatic and keeps a tight leash on them. As a writer Shakun has etched out perfectly layered characters and than as a director, given them a free space to go and perform as if it's happening for real. Looking forward to see more such films from Shakun Batra.
Kapoor & Sons is modern-day family drama that not only makes you laugh, cry but also doesn't shy away from reminding us about the imperfections in the family, acceptance of which can make life more beautiful. If you have penchant for refreshing, different take on modern-day family relationships, Kapoor & Sons should be on your watch-list.
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