Review: Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921)

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Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921) is a Hindi film or called as Bollywood genre. An Indian family who’s younger generation of kids flock to the UK and America you see a fusion of culture and contemporary behavior.

The opening scene is at the breakfast table where you see 90-year-old grandfather Amarjeet have a heart attack and no one bother to help him. This is because Amarjeet (played by Rishi Kapoor with a lot of makeup) has been practicing playing dead in an attempt to make his family adhere to his last whims of life.

Grandsons, Rahul and Arjun  return to their home Coonoor in India when their grandfather takes a real turn for the worse. Rahul (played by Pakistani actor Fawad Afzal Khan) has a successful life, is good looking man, living in a swanky apartment in London, and also planning to pursue architecture alongside his writing. On the other hand is his younger brother Arjun (Sidharth Malhotra) the black sheep of the family, is a struggling writer, living in New Jersey, struggling to get by as a waiter.

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The two brothers seem to be estranged but come back hesitantly for the sake of their family. As well as having jealous between the brothers you begin to realise the whole household has cracks in the foundation. Rahul is clearly the perfect one, loved by all, while Arjun is neglected and reprimanded even if he is not at fault. This really hit home for me, being raised in n Asian household I see the similarities resound between my brothers and favoritism is visible.

Their parents no longer sleep in the same room which alarms the brothers despite their petty qualms, they team together to help resolve the issues between mother and father in business and love life. It was quite uncomfortable seeing the mother accuse the seemingly nice and genuine father of adultery with his work colleague; which turns violent and furthermore embarrassing when the mother calls her husband out publically in front of guests at the Grandfathers birthday.

It’s heart breaking to see the Grandfather put himself out to help the family and he provides the main comic relief in the film, he may be 90 but he loves the ladies and the blue films. I almost chocked when he asks one of his grandsons to download his a dirty picture for him to watch  in hospital.

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One night, to escape the angst in the house, Arjun goes to a house party where he meet’s orphan,  Tia. Tia is an  outgoing, attractive, young girl who owns the house everyone is partying in and most certainly does not seem native to the town. After losing her parent in an accident she studies abroad and returns to india to sell their family house. Instantly there is electric chemistry between Arjun and Tia. Ironically to fuel the sibling rivalry, Rahul meets Tia too as he is viewing her property as an investment. We then see Tia flirting with him outrageously and even kiss him. He brushes it off and maintains the fact he has a partner. The love triangle is very different from most bollywood movies.

In the film I was pleasantly surprised to see the themes of family in a different focus, not so much about the ‘perfect picture’ that Grandfather Amarjeet is pursuing from the beginning up till the end of the film but the disintegration of the household. We seem financial and trust issues eat away at the parent. The financial constraints drive the father to cheat and this in turns makes the mother more paranoid (rightfully so) which makes the atmosphere in the house so unbearable. Without the kids to diffuse the situation things have worsened. However the underlying favouritism between the sons has also affected the family.

Perfect son Rahul is lumbered with the burden of being the shining star, so he has to uphold his image for his family. This is a struggle as it is later exposed that his relationship is with a man not a woman. This breaks his mothers heart and in a blink of an eye she alienates him. We also find out just how strong her motherly bond is that she sacrifices Arjun’s writing career for Rahul. Unknown to both brothers that their mother was to blame for the unspoken awkwardness between the two they all stray further away from each other leaving poor grandad slowly getting iller and iller.

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Tia is a plot device to help unmask Rahul’s true desire and taboo subject of homophobia in India, portrayed convincingly by Fawad Afzal Khan, this was a real twist tot he story. Directed by Karan Johan also gay in real life intertwines this in tastefully and as much as I talk about the hardships in this film there were a lot of funny parts to balance it out. Most notable when the brothers get together to get Aberjeet a cardboard cut out of his favourite Blue film actress to flaunt about with. The music was not the best but the dance track at the house party was simple and catchy and now a hit in the charts – Ladhki beautiful kar ki chul sung by Mika Singh.

It was a simply story with no special effects but a great cast, together they amalgamated  stereotypical Asian families losing their identities to Western culture but still respecting their elders. Subtle hints of betrayal, nothing too shocked or in your face, Karan Johar executed it all beautifully. Great to see Rishi Kapoor still acting and really owning his character. I look forward to seeing more films regarding everyday matters.

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