Here’s a fictitious account of a conversation between Abhishek Kapoor, director of the movie, Kai Po Che and Chetan Bhagat, author of 3 Mistakes of my life – the book the film is based upon:
Abhishek Kapoor: Dude did someone really write you an email before committing suicide, as mentioned in your book?
Chetan Bhagat: Well, that was a befitting way of beginning the story.
AK: The suicide angle sounds too tacky…am not including in the screenplay adaptation.
CB: But that’s the core of my book, ‘3 mistakes of my life’
AK: Consider it the first mistake of your life.
CB: Okay we can debate on it later…why are you not narrating the story from Govind’s point of view?
AK: I find him tad boring…Ishaan sounds much more interesting.
CB: But Ishaan’s sis Vidya falls for Govind…now don’t tell me you’re gonna change that as well.
AK: Oh sure she will…though I don’t understand why a girl would fall for a stingy, boring guy who finds mathematics more interesting than vital statistics.
CB: You see that’s the protocol…One doesn’t fall for a friend’s sister.
AK: Ya I read about it in your book, but am not going to include that cheesy line in the dialogues.
CB: So how do you begin the film?
AK: Just like every buddy-buddy film has choti-choti similarities. For instance, Dil Chahta hai begins with two friends leaving for hospital and the first friend asks about the third, hinting a pangaa with him. Even my previous film Rock On began with two friends asking about the third, again hinting a conflict. Both stories were told in flashback. Ditto for our film, Kai Po Che.
CB: You mean to say Ishaan and Govind will meet up and ask about Omi? But how can they do that when Omi is already dead?
AK: We will keep him alive.
CB:What? Are you adapting my book or rewriting it?
AK: Don’t worry I am not an ‘idiot’ who won’t credit you for writing the story.
CB:Well, that was admittedly the second mistake of my life. Okay then who dies in the end?
AK: Mediocrity. Kai Po Che would be a film that belongs to a genre that kills mediocrity. We don’t want unnecessary hype about the Godhra riots – no baggage of eardrum-splitting background score and yawn-inducing monologues that riot scenes usually come with.
AK: Yup, cool’s the word. The film should make business sound cool. I want to capture the entrepreneurial spirit of Gujarati youth. With a casting like Sushant Singh Rajput playing Ishaan, Rajkumar Yadav playing Govind and Amit Sadh playing Omi, we can easily connect with the youngsters. Amit Sadh is perfect for emoting through his eyes, especially in the second half, Rajkumar Yadav is always spot-on be it a small role in Talaash, Gangs of Wasseypur-2 or lead in Love Sex aur Dhoka and Ragini MMS. The aggression in Ishaan’s character can only be played by someone like Sushant Singh Rajput. The guy has immense screen presence…check out their screen tests…
CB:Not bad! But why not stars? How about the three Khans playing the roles? Imagine Aamir Khan playing Govind, Salman Khan playing Ishaan and Shahrukh Khan playing Omi…With each actor ensuring a 100-crore collection, we’ll end up with a guaranteed 300-crore collection!
AK: Are you serious? Aamir will take at least 7 years just to research on mathematics right from Pythagoras to Ramanujan, Salman will insist upon having hundreds of henchmen attacking him and being blown off in a single knock and perhaps an item number of Munni to jiggle his belt!
CB: Haha! And maybe Shahrukh Khan will suggest a love triangle between Govind, Vidya and his character Omi and a song shot at Switzerland as dream sequence, where Omi is romancing Vidya with outstretched arms. On second thoughts, I have started loving this idea of approaching the three Khans.
AK: That’s the third mistake of your life – of not learning a lesson or two from the Khans after doing ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Hello’. Anyway, we’re going ahead with Amit Trivedi composing the songs. We don’t have much budget so we’ll settle for 3 songs. I liked the Manjha and Shubharambh songs, but Meethi Boliya sounds some rejected option of Dev D. I asked Amit for an alternative, but he said, ‘Itne paise mein itna hi milega’.
CB: Three songs are fine…We aren’t going to make money from the music album.. who buys an original audio CD these days? And who’s gonna shoot and edit the film?
AK: Anay Goswami will shoot and Deepak Bhatia will edit the film. We will capture the essence of old world charm of Ahmedabad. We have a scene where the three characters are riding pillion on a Yamaha…
CB: Wait wait wait…three guys riding pillion? I am sure there must be no helmet too…
AK: It’s set in 2000 dude! The cops were quite ‘cooperative’ back then. And didn’t ‘3 Idiots’, too, have a scene where Kareena is riding her scooty with Raju’s dad and Madhvan?
CB: Hey why do you keep referring to ‘3 Idiots’? Kareena was at least wearing a helmet. What kind of social message are we passing to our youngsters?
AK: When you can ignore grammar in your books, why can’t I ignore traffic rules, for a change? If the censor guys object, we’ll add a disclaimer line along with the scene.
CB: In that case even the riot scenes must have disclaimers, ‘Killing in the name of religions is injurious to mankind’. Come to think of it….Can you pass me the screenplay, please…just can’t wait to know who gets killed in the end…OMG! What is this? So many years pass by, and Omi never bothers apologizing to Vidya? And doesn’t the audience already know that Ali is going to hit that elusive six any way? And why does the film end so abruptly?
AK: That’s the surprise.
CB: Surprise or relief?
AK: Let the audience decide.
CB: But why would people watch a film which is based on a bestseller?
AK: Not everyone who reads, watches films. And not everyone who watches films, reads. Simple.
CB: Let me rephrase it – Not everyone who dreams, believes in hard work. And not everyone who believes in hard work, dreams.
AK: So do the dreamer in you a favour – watch Kai Po Che!
AK: Not ‘gotcha’, say ‘Kai Po Che’!