Abhishek Kapoor’s film might have hit the jackpot — that rare breed of Bollywood cinema that gets the critics’ approval and the box office numbers. But a week into its release, it ran into controversy, with some criticising Abhishek’s depiction of the 2002 Gujarat riots. On Twitter, some have called the film pro Narendra Modi; a New York Times India blog post went on say that “Kai Po Che is scrubbed of the “divisive politics” of 3 Mistakes,” the book it is based on (sic)”.
Kapoor defends his film.
How would you react to criticism that the film glosses over the Gujarat riots?
The film is purely about friendship and, all along, the story stays with the characters. If I get into who caused the riots, that’s a separate movie altogether. If people think so strongly about who did what in the riots, then they should write their own movies, instead of trying to hijack my film. There are films like Parzania (2005) and Firaaq (2008) that deal with the issue at its core. The riots in my film run parallel to the story of three friends and I need not go on about it.
My film is not about the riots
The allegations are that Kai Po Che is pro Narendra Modi. There are some Twitter messages, which are absolutely rubbish. The film is a coming-of-age story about a group of friends. People are looking for something that it’s (the film) not meant to be. This movie is not about the riots.
They say all promotion is good promotion. Will the Twitter debate only bring more people to theatres?
I don’t think the film needs such promotion, since it’s already doing so well. Had it happened before the release of the film, it might have been different. Unnecessarily bringing up issues now is not helping the film in any way.
Did you expect the film to do this well?
We talk about small films and big film; but that gets determined only after a film’s release. As for the cast, I am going to work with them again. They have worked so well in the film, I’m sure they are here to stay.