‘Kai Po Che!’ or ‘The Three Mistakes of My Life’: Here`s what you need to know

By Ananya Bhattacharya | Updated: Feb 23, 2013, 12:30 PM IST

Ananya Bhattacharya

Three friends Govind, Ishaan and Omi. A state ravaged first by a natural calamity and then by a manmade one. A cricket prodigy and a best friend’s beautiful sister. And in the middle of it all, three mistakes committed by the protagonist that compel him to take up the worst method known to mankind for alleviating pain – suicide.

Chetan Bhagat’s ‘The Three Mistakes of My Life’ essentially deals with friendship and love with Ahmedabad and a manic love for cricket as the backdrop. When the writer receives an e-mail from an unknown ‘G. Patel’ early in the morning on a Saturday, all hell breaks loose. For the e-mail is not an ordinary one – it is a suicide note. Thus begins a journey of tracing ‘G. Patel’ out. Once that is done, Bhagat listens to his story, of what drove Govind Patel, a young businessman based in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, to embrace the final step. Govind’s narrative takes Chetan Bhagat through this picturesque, somnolent city where religion, cricket and politics dominate people’s existence. Combined with that, is a crazy interest in poking noses in other people’s business that ties the people of this town together.

As Abhishek Kapoor’s ‘Kai Po Che!’, with Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh, Raj Kumar Yadav and Amrita Puri in the lead roles, is all set to hit theatres on February 22, here’s all that one needs to know about Chetan Bhagat’s ‘The Three Mistakes of My Life’, the book of which the film is an adaptation. On the silver screen, it would really be an experience to watch ‘The Three Mistakes of My Life’, given the fact that Bhagat’s original had every ounce of potential that is required for a hardcore masala flick. It has the ingredients of a solid friendship – the yeh dosti hum nahi todenge types; love in the times of adversity; and underlying it all, a manic love for cricket –one game which can give any drug in the country a run for money when it comes to potency. ‘The Three Mistakes of My Life’, in the form of ‘Kai Po Che!’, is Bhagat’s third book to be made into a film. Chetan Bhagat’s ‘One Night at The Call Centre’ was seen as ‘Hello!’ which sank without a trace, and his ‘Five Point Someone’ as ‘3 Idiots’ smashed all Box Office records in India.

When these three youngsters, Govind, Ishaan and Omi, set up a store which sells sports’ goods, the ‘Team India Cricket Shop’, the cricket-loving children of the town slowly begin flocking to their shop. The business is steady for a while and the three accumulate enough money to shift their shop to a swanky new, air-conditioned mall in Navrangpura from their original location in the premises of an old temple in the old city. Hefty investment is made accordingly; and then, calamity strikes. January 26, 2001 brings along with it an earthquake that reduces a part of Gujarat to mere rubble and dust – and Govind-Ishaan-Omi’s dreams of moving to a better location is buried somewhere in the debris of trampled buildings. Govind’s first mistake lies in the fact that he decided to invest so much in the Navrangpura store.

Meanwhile, Vidya - Ishaan’s sister - had been taking Maths tuitions from Govind given the latter’s reputation of scoring a 100 in Maths in the Board examinations. The classes soon turn into a breeding ground of a steamy love affair between the teacher and the student, and Govind ends up making love to Vidya – a line that most Indian men refrain from meddling with – sleeping with the best friend’s sister. This turns out to be Govind’s second mistake.

Ali, a child with a gift of hyper-reflexes, is one who can slam four sixes at a go – irrespective of who is at the other end of the pitch or what kind of delivery is bowled. Ishaan begins coaching the kid and slowly transforms him into a cricketer who, in his words, is a ‘Team India material’.

When the Sabarmati Express is torched near the Godhra station on February 27, 2002, Ahmedabad too, turns into a boiling cauldron of Hindu-Muslim hatred. Communal riots erupt in parts of the town and Omi’s fanatic Hindu maternal uncle leads an inebriated, frenetic mob to the place where the three friends were hiding with Ali. Omi’s Bittoo Mama, having lost his own son in the train carnage, bays for Ali’s blood. One after the other, people fall prey to the violence till it comes to Govind to save Ali. Govind fails to jut himself in time in front of Ali to save him from being attacked, and the latter’s wrist – the most crucial part of any cricketer’s body – is hit by a piercing trident. This is Govind’s third mistake.

One terrible flop and one brilliant hit is the score that Chetan Bhagat is at currently. ‘Kai Po Che!’, as a film, has many things to look forward to and several points that might leave one thinking. It has a cast which consists of two debutantes – Sushant Singh Rajput and Amit Sadh, one actor whose debut was way below impressive – Amrita Puri (in ‘Aisha’), and an actor who has never been seen in a major role before this – Raj Kumar Yadav. However, the trailers of the film have been received with much acclaim from all walks of cinema-loverdom. In addition to that, ‘Kai Po Che!’ has a director who is the recipient of a National Award. Abhishek Kapoor’s debut with ‘Rock On!!’ was praised to the heavens by critics and viewers alike. Now, with his second, will Abhishek Kapoor be able to carve out a niche for himself in the enviable echelons of the Hindi film industry? And more so, will ‘Kai Po Che!’ catapult its new actors to the league of stardom? The mystery will unravel in a short while from now!