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Posted at: Mar 18, 2016, 7:21 PM; last updated: Mar 18, 2016, 7:23 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW — KAPOOR & SONS (SINCE 1921)

A real family portrait

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Film: Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921)

  • Cast: Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan, Rishi Kapoor,Ratna Pathak Shah, Rajat Kapoor
  • Director: Shakun Batra
A real family portrait
A still from Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921)

Nonika Singh

Two handsome hunks, a pretty damsel and Badshah’s party anthem Ladki beautiful kar gai chul and what do you get? Well, let’s break the bad news first, the film is not exactly a chill pill. And to paraphrase one of its lead actors, the Pakistani sensation, Fawad Khan, well it’s no love triangle either.

Kapoor & Sons, as the name suggests, is essentially and intrinsically a family film. Call it a modern family, if you wish, with warts and all. Only unlike producer Karan Johar’s surface gloss in this production of his you get a very relatable family. Most things that they do, except perhaps the grandfather sharing porn clips with his grandsons, happens in most families. The scene in which the plumber arrives to fix a leaking tap while the family goes on bickering about financial issues is truly hilarious.

Yes, from the start it’s evident this seemingly perfect family of a middle-aged couple, two sons and naughty old grandfather is desperately trying hard to keep up the pretences of a happy family. Like all families in India do. After all, the picture perfect portrait that hangs in most living rooms often doesn’t tell the real picture. No family we know is perfect like the family photograph… yet we all take pride in the ‘all is well’ public posturing. Any wonder the death wish of the grandfather is to get a family portrait done before his innings come to close. That he succeeds in this mission after many ups and downs is what the film and life is all about. This aspect of the film, its uncanny closeness to life, is both its strength and weakness.

The brothers at each other’s throats, husband and wife drifting apart and then finding bits of love lost…we all have been witness to similar family dramas happening close by. And Alia Bhatt as Tia may not be part of this family but her confession, how her last words to her departed parents were harsh ones remind us of the barbs that we often use to hurt our dear ones. As the film unwinds and more chinks appear in the Kapoor khaandan, the film’s pace does get a bit uneven.

Though there is enough drama, laughter and tears too to keep you engaged. Not to forget the handsome brothers, the successful Rahul (Fawad Khan) and Arjun (Sidharth Malhotra) who is yet to find his moorings—have all your attention. 

Actually, actors are like the icing on this slice of life. Rishi Kapoor’s grandpa (prosthetics and all) act, laughing at death while mimicking his endgame scenes holds the narrative and its theme. Ratna Pathak Shah and Rajat Kapoor anchor it firmly.

Though Fawad’s female fans might be a tad disappointed with the new leaf he turns here, the actor in him more than compensates. Sidharth is a delight both as his ebullient self and in moments of revelation. Alia doesn’t get much to do.

Caught between two brothers there are only a few moments she can own up. But the film and the family of Kapoor & Sons seems so much your own. Whether you want to own them or disown is another matter. But can families really be done away with? One thing is clear, all families are perfect in an imperfect way and flawed in its perfect inherent need.

Beyond the cardboard cut-out of family picture there are flesh and blood family members who laugh and cry together. All Shakun does is show you the family mirror and rather adroitly forces you to ask you some key questions, including the oldest one. Who is the fairest of them all? Only here replace them by the word family. Watch it to know yours is not the only idiosyncratic one.

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