How ‘Kai Po Che’ establishes different characters in the first few minutes?

Based on a Chetan Bhagat novel ‘The 3 Mistakes of My Life’, Kai Po Che tells the story about three friends Ishaan, Govind and Omi and their trials and tribulations with the backdrop of cricket. It is always tricky to convert a novel into a screen time of 2 hours but Kai Po Che doesn’t disappoint at all. We are not going to review the entire film here but let us see how the writers and director have establishes different characters, their conflicts and objectives in the first few minutes of this film.

In the opening sequence we see Govind giving a presentation in a school representing Sabarmati Sports, which has created district and national level players in the past (we establish Govind as a successful entrepreneur as he drives in his car). We also see Omi inside a jail, removing some photos from a wall (he notices and gets emotional looking at a photograph of him with two guys). We see it is Omi’s release day from Jail (he appears to have done something illegal). Govind picks him outside Jail. There are no words exchanged, just that Omi asks about Ishaan. The number plate of the car appears to be of Gujarat, so our story would take place somewhere in Gujarat.

Govind giving a presentation in a school
Omi picking photos from wall inside Jail

They stop at a Café Coffee Day outlet and while watching a cricket match, we go into a flashback as Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket falls in the present day to March 2000 in Ahmedabad where we see Ishaan (wearing Indian Cricket Team Jersey with his name written) and watching a cricket match with Omi sitting near him having a dhokla.

First visual of Ishaan in the film

We also see a girl chatting with someone over the phone and Ishaan shouts at her to leave the room.

Ishaan shouting at his sister

We also see in the background, Govind is trying to convince an old man (Ishaan’s father) to give him a cheque of 42,500/-.

Govind convincing Ishaan’s father

As Govind receives cheque, we hear a car honking outside. Ishaan gets up suddenly, picks his bat and goes out followed by Omi. We see Ishaan, in a fit of rage, smashing the headlight of the same car and passes bat to Omi, who smashes the windshield.

Omi smashes the windshield

We also see Ishaan’s father scolding him for his act and tearing the cheque given to Govind. Infuriated Ishaan goes to a ground alone, where there are a few kids playing cricket. He asks one of the kids as to who is at the crease. We see a young Muslim boy getting ready to play the next ball.

First visual of Ali Hashmi in the film

Things established in this scene:

  1. In the present day, Govind is a successful businessman dealing in sports.
  2. Omi appears to have a shady past.
  3. Ishaan is a cricket enthusiast and a former district level cricketer (as Govind talks to Ishaan’s father- the old man)
  4. The girl appears to be Ishaan’s sister, the way he shouted at her.
  5. The place appears to be Ishaan’s house only (look at the way he is sitting and knows the whereabouts of the house).
  6. Govind appears to be the most ambitious guy amongst the three as he is not interested in the match but is giving his best to convince Ishaan’s father for the cheque.
  7. Govind plans to open a sports shop outside temple. He has got a business-oriented mind as he tries to justify the location of his upcoming shop.
  8. The way Ishaan slaps the owner of the car and smashes the head lights- he appears to be short-tempered and impulsive guy who wears his heart on his sleeve.
  9. Omi appears to be someone who gets influenced very easily- Look at the way he takes bat from Ishaan and smashes the windshield of the car. He also gets agitated very easily (a great character flaw that is going to be used in the film later).
  10. Ishaan’s father doesn’t support his son (may be Ishaan didn’t do anything in the past to give his father any confidence- we can assume Ishaan to be a failed cricketer at the district level and somebody who wants to redeem his reputation but has no planning to do so). Ishaan’s father tells us during his scolding that Ishaan has been sitting at home for the last 2 years- something which underlines Ishaan’s failure in the past.
  11. We also get a glimpse of Ali Hashmi, the budding young cricketer. They have introduced him in the first few minutes as later on, the film is going to revolve around him.

With this information, we have enough on the board to make our audience sit for the next two hours. We have an objective (Govind, Ishaan and Omi want to open a sports shop), we have a conflict (they have no money, no reputation) and we also have a hook (their chemistry and bonding). Later on, the young boy Ali Hashmi, gives them an opportunity and brings hope in their lives through his cricketing abilities.

The novel by Chetan Bhagat gave a blueprint on which the three writers Pubali Chaudhuri, Supratik Sen and Abhishek Kapoor adapted it for the screen.   

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