“I was this second best always. But overtime I realized this is how I am!”- says Arjun kapoor aka Sidharth Malhotra.This dialogue just changed the perspective with which I entered the cinema hall to watch ‘Kapoor & Sons’. Needless to say, the best motivation to watch the film was ever charming, hot and simply adorable Fawad Khan whom I loved since ‘Zindagi Gulzar hai’.
Tears rolled down my cheeks making me choke – did I just hear second best? sigh! this constant hidden struggle between siblings to be perfect, to be most loved kid was so real, so raw that I couldn’t help but find my own self in Sidharth’s character. He is not successful rather struggles, changes jobs like hobbies. He hits the first chord rightly by saying- “Why papa didn’t call me?” Though he doesn’t get answer but he simply goes with the flow. His eyes are like window to his heart divulging constant want for attention, love and validation from his parents who showers the same to elder brother Rahul aka Fawad Khan. There is no denying fact that he was like ideal son- a successful novelist, financially sound, peace maker of house, takes care of his family and a charmer in his own ways but his perfectness has adverse effect on his brother ‘the second best’.
Interestingly this fact is emphasized in various scenes, when both come back to their home, Rahul’s room remains same with things undisturbed whereas Arjun’s room is taken away! I don’t think that was intentional but it hurts. Somehow I couldn’t detach with Arjun’s character as it reflected all the pain that I suffered, all the struggles I went through in my life. I remember my dad saying, “You are not giving your 100%, to achieve success you should keep working hard, harder till your body just say you can’t do more”. I never understood this as I tried, tried harder to really push myself. Every time I fell, I was alone, there was no one who came to me to just say that it’s okay, you can always rise and win. I was termed as brash, loud and every demanding girl who did nothing but just asked for things- I was constantly comparing with my sister who literally did what dad says and needless to say she achieved whatever she did!
Among the various twists and turns, the movie perfectly balanced the insecurities with the pressure to sustain the ‘perfectness’. In one of the conversations where Rahul says, “I am ready to switch places with you” which is easily laughed away by Arjun. In yet another scene, Arjun refuses to believe that his mother can be angry with Rahul, “Tu aisi koi galti nahi kar sakta ki maa tujhse naraz ho jaye, tut oh perfect hai, sab sahi karta hai.” It seemed me and my sister were talking to each other, damn why is it so true!
However movie portrays ‘the perfect one’ succumbing to the expectations when Rahul says to his mother- “thak gaya hoon perfect ban ban ke, mein nahi hoo perfect” Strangely there is nothing like perfect or imperfect, it’s a mere structure woven out of human emotions and social expectations- this tug of war just makes you estranged with the people you love! And we forget this virtue of love and engage in the competition of being more perfect than other even in our families.
Another star point of this film was how empathetically Rahul’s sexuality was portrayed in the film, his coming out in front of his family was a breath of fresh air in Hindi cinema. The beauty of the dialogue touches me when he says, “I can ask for apologies for all the lies, dishonesty and things that I have done, but how can I ask for sorry for who I am!” I always believed in honesty but find it difficult to practice as I fear that it might hurt people, can damage relations and bring chaos in life- yes it does that but a hidden truth does more damage! It kills relations, poison life and above all suffocates the person hiding the truth and once a long hidden truth is out in open can forge the life forever. The script of the movie beautifully woven in terms of writing enlarges this fact!
Kapoor & Sons is intense and skillful craft about a family full of uncomfortable secrets, real jealousies and sharp pain where siblings lie, parents cheat, family that hides truth and perfect kids who don’t have perfect love lives. Kudos to the director and writer Shakun Batra for putting up this brilliant film that talk about family, sibling relationships at large and homosexuality in the most surreal and honest way.