Great books rarely translate into great movies and the chance of a mediocre book translating into a great movie is even rarer. Based on Chetan Bhagat's best seller novel of the same name 2 States, Abhishek Varman's directorial debut is an exercise in been there, seen that and yawn, yawn.
The issue of two families from contrasting backgrounds coming together for marriages has been an oft-recurring phenomenon in real and reel life alike and this could have been a great setup for a funny slice-of-life and touching drama but blame it on the source material at hand or rather the handling of it, the screenplay is grounded quite far away from reality. Recently, the same issue was tackled brilliantly in Vicky Donor but here in 2 States the whole exercise seems a case of easy setup, simple conflicts and various predictable resolutions to the problems at hand. Rinse and repeat.
There are scenes that will make you wonder whether the movie is meant for adults or below 10-year olds (the wedding scene where Alia takes the centre-stage will make you squirm). The track of Father-son conflict was handled brilliantly in Udaan and I wonder if Ronit Roy's brief was 'do what you did there'. There are multiple such deja vu moments scattered throughout the movie.
In between there are a few genuine laugh out loud moments as well but they are few and far in between the stretched 2 and a half hour long screenplay. The biggest problem of the movie, however, happens to be the casting of Arjun Kapoor as Krish. Neither he fits the role nor does his acting. Arjun acts with a subtlety of a sledgehammer and it's about time he is recognised for his lack of any redeemable skills as an actor. You keep on wondering if an actor like Ranbir or even Ayushmann did the same role, perhaps the movie would be much more tolerable and it might have been another story altogether. Amrita Singh is good and so is Revathy. Alia does her job well enough and does not overact thankfully.
The saving grace of the movie happens to be the controlled performance of Ronit Roy who owns every single scene he is in. We need more of him on-screen and preferably in much better roles. Binod Pradhan's camerawork is quite lovely as well. Overall, Kai Po Che remains the best Chetan Bhagat novel adaptation yet and Abhishek Varman should have taken more tips from the same about how to work with average source material and turn it into a good screenplay.
In the end, you'd be better off sticking with the book and skipping this one or if you really wish to watch two contrasting families coming to terms together, rent a DVD of Basu Da's classic Khatta Meetha.
- Shivam Sharma aka @GhantaGuy