Friendship first

Written by Sankhayan Gosh | Updated: Feb 12 2013, 06:04am hrs
Ahead of its release, the Kai Po Che! team shares the stories of its making and journey so far

The latest Screen Preview had a bunch of actors, who were high on energy and camaraderie. Accompanied by director Abhishek Kapoor and producer of the film and CEO, UTV Motion Pictures, Siddharth Roy Kapur, actors Sushant Singh Rajput, Rajkumar Yadav and Amit Sadh were in Express Towers on Saturday to talk about their upcoming release Kai Po Che! that will be in theatres on February 22. This set the stage for a free-wheeling conversation, peppered with candid confessions and insights.

Book and the film Kai Po Che! is likely to escape the usual set of problems that accompany most book-to-screen adaptations. Its director, Abhishek Kapoor, found Chetan Bhagats novel 3 Mistakes of my Life Bollywood-friendly even though he went through the initial confusion over picking one overarching theme for the film. I decided to focus on friendship though there were other threads such as politics and cricket. There are quite a few things from the book that we had to do away with, he said.

While he had to work on filling several gaps, it also gave him the scope to add depth to the characters and write a script that could stand on its own. The fact that the films producers hadnt read the book before the script helped. Even when we went back to the script after reading the book, we were happy with it because of the way Abhishek wrote it, said Kapur.

Young Guns

Like his last film, Rock On!!, in Kai Po Che! too, Kapoor has shown faith in new talent, casting lesser-known actors such as Rajkumar Yadav or television stars like Sushant Singh Rajput and Amit Sadh as his protagonists. According to the director who looks to tap into the nervous energy of new actors there is no better place to source fresh talent than television and theatre.

We cant get a rank newcomer from the street for a fresh face. He or she has to come with certain professionalism and training, that can only come from television and theatre, he says. These television actors are so trained that they can remember five-six pages of dialogues at one go, he adds.

The lead characters of the three friends Govind, Ishan and Omi, with the mix of their contrasting human qualities, remain true to the book. Yadav plays Govind Patel, an ordinary Gujarati guy, who wants to set up his own business. Rajput plays Ishan, the 23-year-old who dreams of becoming a professional cricketer. The trio is completed by Sadhs Omi, son of a Hindu priest who goes for local bodybuilding sessions and is perhaps the most loyal of the three friends.

The only romantic angle of the story is between Govind and Ishans sister Vidya, played by Amrita Puri.

Title and music

Kapoor found the title that would capture the spirit of the film in the land it is set in, Gujarat. Kai Po Che, is the victory call in the regions kite-flying competitions. I knew many people would not understand it, but its phonetic energy felt like something that would have a lasting effect on the audiences mind, he says.

For a director who seems to possess the right ear for music, Kapoor wanted songs that wouldnt disturb the narrative. As a result, there are just three songs in the soundtrack. For an earthy, soulful sound in sync with the films middle class Gujarati milieu, he roped in composer Amit Trivedi and lyricist Swanand Kirkire both of whom he wanted to work with. Amit gave me the three tunes in three days, and initially, I was not fully convinced. I thought how can he not struggle even a bit But when I woke up the next day with the tune of Manja refusing to leave my head, I knew I have got the music of my film, said Kapoor.