By Naman Singh:
Karan Johar’s ‘Kapoor And Sons’ (Since 1921) is well surfaced on the idea of observing and contesting the notion of family and the concerns related to it. From the very beginning, the film takes a spin off on the regular tussles of a married couple due to financial crisis and between brothers with long-smouldering conflict seeped deep in their hearts – this one is all about the common family. A tie that seems to be on the verge of breaking but stays well-knit amidst all the drama that unfolds.
Interestingly, the film rises to be more than a family drama and does something greater by challenging the traditional norms that govern the domestic. We tend to question the traditional by bearing in mind the mainstream notion of attacking the idea of a “happy family” if it is not glued together in all circumstances. But, the feeling of having someone, whether physically around or distant, who cares and will stand by, is what matters.
This is what the film emphasises on, using light and equally heavy-hearted meetings between characters on a superficial level. The idea of meeting someone to release one’s pent up emotions and find personal relief without developing a co-dependent relationship is what is unique in this context. This can be viewed in a range of instances – from the bold confessions of a son to his mother about his carnal existence or a much-needed release of the girl to her partner who mistakes her effort of finding support mushy. ‘Kapoor And Sons’ portrays a very distinct picture of society despite breathing in a very colloquial structure.
Whether it is simply a marital union of several years or thinking that a series of hangouts with a guy/girl will develop into “love” one day, the film purges the notion of relationships of its burden of ‘binding’ two individuals with one thread. It maintains the sanctity of beings that do not simply exist physically together but beyond that, sharing a much deeper and more profound connection.
This happens when the mind is nothing but a universe of thoughts and desires supplied by the heart, as seen in the instances of a girl not being able to differ between her sexual and emotional reflexes and a man engaging in a chord outside marriage and which are not supported by the social standards of morality. Moreover, while we reckon such forces, it is important to break the shallow binary of good and evil. Even though the wife despises the news of her husband’s l’affaire-des-coeurs, according to me, she still rationally understands and fathoms the almost-damaged marriage that might have left no choice for the man.
Compiling various facets of human emotions in this two-and-a-half-hour film, ‘Kapoor And Sons’ stands tall in weaving a saga of individualism that has its roots tightened in the rediscovery of harsh boundaries of family and relationships. It paves a way for all humanity to develop on its own. Lastly, it is also successful in inflating life and meaning into a regular setting of family inhabiting the countryside. Is this why the first round of a family photo-shoot was unsuccessful because something was still to be unravelled to fulfil the old chap’s wish of seeing everyone together? One wonders.