Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan, Alia Bhatt, Rishi Kapoor, Rajat Kapoor, Ratna Pathak Shah
Direction: Shakun Batra
Ratings: ***1/2 (3.5/5)
Not every family is perfect. Hell, no family is perfect. Shakun Batra’s Kapoor And Sons wins in being able to portray the quick fixes that every family has to employ sometime or the other. In Sidharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan’s dysfunctional Kapoor family, this is what shines through.
Dadu (Rishi Kapoor), the 89-year-old patriarch of the Kapoor family suffers a heart attack. Rahul (Fawad Khan) and Arjun’s (Sidharth Malhotra) lives in London and New Jersey respectively are disrupted, and the brothers come back home to Coonoor. In this picturesque small town in Tamil Nadu resides this not-so-picturesque Kapoor family. Rahul and Arjun’s mom (Ratna Pathak Shah) and dad (Rajat Kapoor) are stuck in a bickering, at-each-other’s-throats marriage. Family fights are an everyday affair and the story sucks you in into it in a way that seems real. The Kapoors get under your skin and make a home for themselves there.
Tia (Alia) and Arjun have a drunken night between them when the latter gatecrashes and lands in the party at her place. Arjun is instantly taken by Tia. On the other hand, Tia wants to sell her bungalow that Rahul wants converted into an artists’ retreat, and in the process, the girl develops a massive crush on the guy.
Younger brother Arjun desists living in the shadow of his elder brother, the ‘perfect son’, the successful novelist who has a perfect life in London. On the other side is Dadu, whose only wish in life is a family photo, which will have ‘Kapoor and Sons Since 1921’ captioned beneath it. Rahul and Arjun throw their lot behind trying to fulfil their grandfather’s wish, and also want to throw a surprise party for the octogenarian’s 90th birthday. But how?
With these several parallel tracks running through Kapoor And Sons, director Shakun Batra crafts a refreshing tale of family problems and the art of sweeping them under the carpet. There are scenes in the film which remind you of your own not-so-absolute families. A special mention for the scene where a plumber gets unwillingly stuck in a family fight and leaves everyone in splits.
Batra, along with Ayesha Devitre Dhillon, displays a story that is at once the beauty and ugliness of rain in the mountains. Sure, sitting on the window-sill, you breathe in the fragrance of the wet earth; but there’s the claustrophobia too, of being stuck indoors. Kapoor And Sons is a depiction of the lives spent dithering, of time that you’ve lost doing nothing but waiting for a better period of time.
In this tale of the flawed family, Fawad Khan is spectacular. The actor, whose debut in Khoobsurat was lauded by most people, does a fabulous job of bringing Rahul’s dilemmas and the burden of protecting secrets on screen. Sidharth Malhotra tries his best to infuse life into Arjun, and is successful in doing so. However, in the frames with the two brothers on screen, you can’t help but realise that Fawad outshines Sidharth.
As the bubbly, outgoing Tia, Alia is the quintessential pretty distraction. But her role doesn’t allow her to be a lot more than that. In her not-as-fleshed-out part too, Alia makes her presence felt.
Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak Shah are both incomparable in the way they bring alive the problems of a marriage in tatters. Rishi Kapoor is unbelievable in the film. His character teaches people how to live, and full marks to the actor for being able to nail that.
However, underneath all the brilliance of Kapoor And Sons, there lies the problem of the quick-fix solution. Half of Batra’s film is a lesson in embracing the imperfections and searching for a proper solution to them. Therefore, when the story uses that very hasty, knee-jerk climax to get things in place, it comes across as a betrayal.
Jeffery F Bierman’s camera captures the essence of Coonoor in the best way possible. A middle class family in a small town, sons who stay abroad, the beauty of the sun setting on the hills… Connoor comes alive in Kapoor And Sons, thanks to the cinematography.
The music is soothing. Ladki Beautiful, of course, is already the party anthem of the year. Among the other tracks, Bolna is a memorable one.
In all, watch Kapoor And Sons for everything. And if you happen to have a crush on Fawad Khan, watch it for him. India Today