Kapoor and Sons is a movie about relationships and families, a genre that Dharma productions specializes in and it more than lived up to all my expectations.
Set in the idyllic environs of Ooty, the movie belies this peace. It is about the pushes, pulls and tensions that make up the emotional landscape of a family and the politics that play out within them. It is a story that has universal appeal since there will be that one thing in the story that will resonate with you and make you nod vigorously to yourself saying "Yes I know about this. I understand." It could be sibling rivalry, the tensions between spouses, the old grandfather, money problems- anything that makes up the basic knitting of our lives and which fray and sometimes tear the fabric of our existence.
Old grandfather Kapoor, the patriarch of the family suffers a heart attack and the family gets together to be with him. The grand dad has a wish for a family photograph before he dies but that is easier said than done given the blow-ups between the parents and the sons once everyone gets together. To make matters more complicated, there is the arrival of a charming girl in the neighbourhood who gets friendly with both the brothers. This is the setting and I won't go into any more details and rob your enjoyment of the movie.
The script is tight and understated. There is no melodrama though there is chaos and fights and a lot of raised voices. It is the way families behave and the Director Shakun Batra (who earlier directed Ek Main aur Ek Tu) lets the voices ricochet off the walls of the quiet house in the hills, just as they would in the real world. There is a lot of messiness which is not covered up by any glamour or gloss, which makes the film very much ours. We begin to feel part of this family with it's secrets and its disappointments and wait with bated breath for things to unravel or come to a conclusion.
The cast is what makes the Director's effort worth it. Rishi Kapoor as the jovial old grandfather who loves Mandakini is the backbone of the movie and once again proves that he alone can carry a movie on his roly-poly shoulders. Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak Shah as the parents have the chemistry of a much-married couple and they convey the tensions between them even when doing nothing much beyond just standing next to each other. Fawad Khan and Siddharth Malhotra as the two siblings are fabulous. For once I wasn't just drooling over either of them but viewing them as flawed individuals trying to find their peace. Alia Bhatt is the perfect foil to them both, playing her character with charm and cool and a vulnerability that makes us reach out to her. Her scene with Siddharth Malhotra at the party where they nearly kiss has such an understated deftness that I wanted to hug the Director (over either of the two hunks and that's saying a lot!).
The chacha's family seems surprisingly vanilla when compared to this one but I guess there wasn't enough time for them in a movie that is already pretty long. Fortunately ,there are only a few songs and they complement the movie superbly.
If you liked Dil Dhadakne Do, then you will adore Kapoor and Sons. I found it to be far superior to DDD. It has more subtlety, more depth and performances that will take your heart away. Families aren't all rosy and this movie will make you appreciate yours in a way that no Barjatya movie can ever do. Go for it today!