Rahul and Arjun visit home - but with family secrets tumbling out, is their reunion a happy one? And what happens when pretty Tia joins the Kapoors and sons?
So, Kapoor & Sons remixes Bollywood's family drama in a bold new-age avataar. Forever bickering Harsh (Rajat) and Sunita (Ratna) have two sons, successful Rahul (Fawad) and confused Arjun (Sidharth). Suddenly, Tia (Alia) enters the Kapoors' lives, kissing Rahul - but dating Arjun. How does this triangle square up - and does grandad Kapoor (Rishi) get the family photo he desires?
Kapoor & Sons' star is its story. This is an entirely real family, full of uncomfortable secrets, awkward jealousies and sharp pain, where brothers steal, parents cheat, siblings suspect and 'perfect bachchas' don't have perfect love-lives. This is a family with its make-up off, screaming through hilarious situations - a sequence involving a plumber is side-splittingly good.
There are subtle touches - Sunita making bhindi which Rahul loves, Arjun hates - bizarre cameos (aspiring 'Mr. Ooty', whose bosom jiggles on command) and cinematography that captures lush Coonor with frames where you can, well, almost smell the plentiful grass.
The acting shines. In a wheelchair, Rishi Kapoor runs away with the film, smashing it with hilarious lines - an 'apology' goes, "Sorry, bhains" - and his dirty old man portrayal, lusting after Mandakini's wet sari and using his grandson's 'I-Papad' for porn. Fawad and Sidharth make terrific contrasts, Sidharth vulnerable, yet loving, Fawad, slick, yet asking with pain, "Aap ko mere jhoot bolne ka gham hai - ya meri asliyat ka?"
And Ratna Pathak Shah seals it with a fabulous performance that evolves from angry edginess to calm grief. Alongside, small, silken touches - the shoes of someone who's gone, the chemistry of Alia and Sidharth, an old-world small town, a new world where children and parents comfort and confront - make Kapoor & Sons special.
On the downside, the music's forgettable and Alia plays yet another boho-chick, with chic but predictable charm. However, the direction, frequently evoking Monsoon Wedding, keeps things family-focused, with a moving camera and characters in meltdown. Wicked, witty and wise, Kapoor & Sons does Karan Johar proud.
Because it's about loving your family - sharp edges and all.