Without lathering it into a sudsy soap opera, Shakun Batra nimbly helmed Kapoor & Sons that probed fault lines within a family headed by an idiosyncratic grandfather Rishi Kapoor, quarrelsome parents Ratna Pathak Shah and Rajat Kapoor and their deeply conflicted sons, Siddharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan. He integrated these familiar elements into a perspicacious comment on the modern family.
Starting out as assistant director and part-time actor (he played Pappu in the Jaane Tu … Ya Jaane Na song ‘Pappu can’t dance saala’) before turning director with Dharma Productions’ Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, with Kapoor & Sons, Batra has made a film with characters that are the very antitheses of the soppy families seen in producer Karan Johar’s early films. The final message, though, is still classic Johar – that love can always paper over all cracks and fractures.
Batra has already acquired a reputation for going after what he wants – even if it is transforming Rishi Kapoor into a tetchy 90-year-old look with prosthetics. But he never allows attention-grabbing novelties, big ticket stars or humour to outsparkle his story. This Pappu can direct, saala!