The New Indian Cinema and Cricket

In a first, the worst book I've ever read, got converted into an excellent on screen adaptation! Kai Po Che. 3 Mistakes of My Life.

Reading the book was my first big mistake, but thankfully watching the movie wasn't. In fact, to a certain extent, Chetan Bhagat redeemed himself. But then we always knew that the novelist would do better as a Bollywood screenplay writer, didn't we? I mean, my friend Abhirup has already thought of the placement of songs (1 comic, 2 romantic, 1 bromantic, 1 sad, 1 item number and 1 song on national integration) for his novel Two States, written on the great Indian matrimony scenario. His best till now.

The story was a little paced, but that happens when its an adaptation. Look what happened to the Dan Brown adaptations - compared to the books, the movies, with their alternate explanations, turned out of a lesser quality. '3 Mistakes..' was originally meant to be a tragedy. As it should, containing all of the cataclysmic events that western India witnessed just over the turn of the new millennium. I do not know how the author originally didn't kill off even a single character, thus managing to murder the set-up tragedy. Music was crisp, fresh and come on, it's Amit Trivedi, what less do you expect? It feels good that they've finally learned to keep the music less, but not missing on the point.

And ultimately, what a wonderful movie! The plus points of this movie were acting, cinematography, direction and the necessary changes to the original plot. But personally, the greatest positive from the movie was the test match. Although it was in the book itself, I am glad that the nostalgic Kolkata test match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in the year 2001 was not overshadowed by a One-day or Twenty20 match. (Its a different thing that there were no T20 back then, but movies do not necessarily follow a strict timeline always, do they?)

Don't you love these Amul ads? They never get old!

I don't give a rat's ass if you guys were here entirely for a movie review. I'm going to shift focus from the movie to test cricket, from this point hereafter. And well, many ladies did claim that's exactly how the movie went - cricket 'overtook' things.

But its hard not to fall in love with test cricket. I read somewhere that test cricket is lovely, for it gives us time to pause. Well said! Test cricket proves that life in sports isn't exactly as terrifyingly random as it looks. 5 days of strategy, perseverance and the restriction-less window to test oneself comprises all that is good in this form of the game. It takes out the edge of randomness from the game and renders the comforting belief that luck has nothing to do with the best of sport.

Twenty20, compared to Test cricket - and I'm not so apologetic for this analogy - is akin to Chetan Bhagat compared to Salman Rushdie. Its like trying to write a blog on twitter. And I'm sorry, but there is absolutely no sense in the term 'microblogging' (it should be renamed as 'microranting' and I love doing it!) One just cannot apply compression to something that cannot be bound with a few hours. And they picked up the best test match I have ever witnessed in this life. I was 11 years old then, as my family had recently shifted base to Kolkata. Everything was a big hullabaloo in the big city. But still the memory of this match is clear. And fortunately, since there were no shorter format of the game than ODIs, test cricket updates were still a buzz everywhere.

Harbhajan bulldozed the world's best middle-order at the time on day one. Taking Ponting, Gilchrist and Warne in the first ever hat-trick by an Indian in test-format, he became a national hero. Second and third days, were witness to the great Australian might in cricket. Enforced for a follow on, on the fourth day, two Indians changed history. Laxman became the most dependable batsman, when it came to batting against Australia. His record-breaking contribution of 281 would never be forgotten, even after a bygone Sehwag blitzkrieg in the Indian cricket scenario. The match also saw one of the rarest and uncharacteristic celebratory gestures of Rahul Dravid. The gentleman of a batsman kept aside his cool for a welcome change, and pumped a fistful towards the press box who have been harsh on his recent run of poor form.

On the final day, Ganguly demanded the maximum from his team - get em out, before they win the match. Bowl out all ten of them. Ten of the world's finest batsmen. Of the finest team. To bowl out and stop the incessent conquest; the 17th consecutive victory of Steve Waugh. And what is that expression? Lo behold! And here lies a bittersweet reminder of how the kids of this era miss all the fun in cricket, when they dance to the funny tunes of the IPL team anthems and lose patience for test matches. This is what happens, when a group of baniyas take over a romantic undertaking, such as cricket. Dammit BCCI, generating money is not everything!

That's where the future of Kai Po Che lies. Govind, after a successful Sabarmati Cricket Coaching venture, takes over BCCI. There is no district-level player Ishan to stop him. Omi hangs himself out of guilt, while Vidya provides him with some rope for the noose. And Ishan Jr. watches Twenty20 matches, dances at KKR celebratory parties and enrolls himself into an engineering college to become just another five point someone. Welcome to India.

And that's my movie review of Kai Po Che for you, ladies and gentlemen. A violating review of an Indo-sexist movie, where a romantic/bromantic small-town drama, catapulted by tandem tragedies, is ultimately taken over by cricket! Man, I loved it, as did perhaps every Indian guy. Abhishek Kapoor, you're a bro, man.


  1. Interesting end. Rare to see a Kai Po Che post focussed on cricket aspect only and not mentioning the riots angle

    1. I started writing a good review, but then suddenly cricket took over, mate! Haha..

  2. Havent watched the movie yet; couldnt take the word of my Chetan Bhagat loving friends that it was a good movie :P
    I will take your word for it now Deeptiman! Nice review and the transition into cricket was really interesting :D

    1. Haven't watched it yet? You'll like it..