Kapoor & Sons Review: Performances Add Soul To This Competent Family Drama

Kapoor-&-Sons-1[tps_footer]Director Shakun Batra’s drama about a dysfunctional family that reunites after five years to celebrate the grandfather’s 90th birthday is an impressive showcase for some endearing performances. Natural banter and bickering is tightly choreographed and edited to create scenes of normal familial chaos and conflict. The Kapoor family of sons Rahul and Arjun, parents Harsh (Rajat Kapoor) and Sunita (Ratna Pathak Shah) and Dadu (Rishi Kapoor) have more skeletons in their closets than most normal families. An extra marital affair, failed businesses, stolen ideas, favouritism, distrust, lies underline the everyday.

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Batra paints a pretty picture on the surface – good-looking sons Rahul (Fawad Khan) and Arjun (Sidharth Malhotra) and a cutesy, bubbly neighbour Tia (Alia Bhatt) meet in the verdant setting of Coonoor. Rahul is the successful author and entrepreneur who can do no wrong. Arjun is the son who just cannot seem to hold a career or an interest down long enough. Tia is drawn to both brothers – leading to one more complication in an already stressed family. This is no ideal, happy family at all.

The 90th birthday celebrations and the appointment for a family portrait serve as the settings for the Kapoor family drama to play out. But there is so much dialogue and talking (Batra and Ayesha DeVitre Dhillon) and such a reliance on juxtaposition of (random) dramas that the emotional soul is drowned out. You feel it only in moments devoted to the aging Dadu and in Fawad Khan’s controlled and mature interpretation of the conflicted and fatigued Rahul. Malhotra shows vulnerability and pain as the wronged Arjun, except for a shrill emotional outburst. As for Alia Bhatt, she repeats her manic-pixie-dream-girl-with-a-sad-past act with practiced ease. Rishi Kapoor is charming as the spirited patriarch and Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak Shah are electric as the couple struggling to find reasons to stay together. Kapoor & Sons works solidly with the notion that when it comes to family, sometimes you can’t live with them or without them.

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Rating: ***[/tps_footer]