Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki
We've come a long way from Hum Saath Saath Hain to Kapoor & Sons, and boy, am I glad! Two brothers come home to be with an ailing but lusty, sprightly grandfather and end up tearing and the darning the fragile family fabric. Suffers from the second half drag in the story, but well worth a watch.
I've always hoped someone would remake the delightful 'Antonia's Line' some day. Our culture is perfect for the story of generations that have grown with lust, lawlessness and love, faith and compassion. We also live with family rivalries where brother can kill brother and bloodlusts go deep. But our filmmakers choose only to show 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'. We have seen fluff in the name of stories and everything is picture perfect and dressed in designer togs. With this movie, thankfully, we actually get into a dysfunctional home and learn that families are the same. It is really Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki.
Brother against brother. Timeless tales. Here, when one brother is made to feel 'second best' you understand his angst. You also appreciate how the brothers are shown to be happy together when they share a cigarette, or protect a parent.
The parents have their own set of problems. They're trying to make ends meet, their relationship is strained, they want to keep these from the sons during the visit.
The sons and the rest of the family are getting together for the ailing grandfather's wish for a family photograph. Now grandpa is a wonderful, made-up with prosthetics Rishi Kapoor, who is the glue that keeps his family from falling apart. His twinkling eyes see everything, and he does as much as he can to keep the film breezy. When he cannot, Aalia Bhatt does. She has a home, but no family. And she offers a hand to the younger grandson Arjun (wonderfully played by Siddarth Malhotra) whose frustration is easy to identify with. Fawad Khan plays the older grandson, who is perfect and can do no wrong. I smiled to hear him called Rahul.
Rajat Kapoor, the father of the Rahul and Arjun is in a role he can do in his sleep. But is very annoying to see an actor of his calibre do the same old role in practically every movie: a cheating husband, a frustrated family man... But his wife, played by Ratna Pathak Shah is so amazing, you forgive her choice of husband.
The filmmakers seemed to have loved showing family arguments so much that sometimes they grate on your nerves. The Marathi play Wada Chirebandi manages these cracks in relationships in silences. But this is Bollywood's baby step taken towards showing a dysfunctional family, and all is forgiven because Aalia Bhatt is so effervescent, she brings love into the equation. And Arjun's photographer friend and his body builder brother are delightful people to watch in the film.
The second half where secrets are spilled, relationships broken and mended should have been a better watch, but the story lumbers on. You don't want to see title cards that say, 'Four Months Later', 'Four Years Later'. You take shelter in coffee. You want Aalia to come back, not to kiss the lad, but to hold hands in friendship because she is in love with lad who won't ever will love her back. The chemistry in the shady restaurant, in the shed where the 'fuse is blown' is way more than the chemistry between the other two. To understand it better, watch the movie. It drags in the second half, but we've forgiven worse mistakes.
And the movie reminded me of an ee cummings poem titled: 'anyone lived in a pretty how town'
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.
Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more
when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her
someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream
stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)
one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was
all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.
Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
p.s. Remember to buy plain popcorn. Some tears will add the salt and the sweetness will come when you are laughing along with the characters in the film.
p.s. After watching the movie, I stepped out only to see someone from the audience try the pecs twitch. Came home giggling.