Home is not what bricks make, what leads to compartments called rooms, or where walls hold framed photographs of people, smiling and hugging each other. Home is about family, relationships, bonds and hopes, dreams and destiny, dependence and sharing, it is about knowing everything typical to that entrance door, where you hide the keys inside the door mat, adjacent vases or anywhere typically known to the child who comes back from school and finds his door locked. Home is about the smell of the old walls, old note-books, and scrap books. Home is about those pillows you hold against your siblings, the broken, scribbled, faded imprints on doors and window panes. Home is about photographs that take you back to everyday you once lived and will never live again, home is about love, home is about stories that you make, stories you hear. Home is life, memories and bonds you leave behind when you soar high in the heavens of your dreams.
The Kapoor home in the film is somewhat similar, planning to sketch the lost lives, lost times, lost relations in an attempt to live, how lives get swayed away. Shakun Batra and Ayesha Devitre Dhillon in their movie attempt to delineate everything that any home could deal with, they talk about financial crisis, relations and inter-dependence, generations and youth. Tracing the existing parallel and congruent lines the movie projects the inner silence of every soul living in Conoor. Rahul Kapoor (Fawad Khan) and Arjun Kapoor (Siddharth Malhotra) are the two brothers belonging to our generation of dreamers. Their dreams take them away from their cosy rooms to far away horizons. When they are informed of their grandfather’s heart attack they fly back to India. Their coming back is both nostalgic and revelatory. The film, from this point onwards, deals with both nostalgia regarding the emotional attachments and the hidden secrets that break the very idea of an attached family. Like any modern day middle class family, the members pine for stability. Stable love life, stable career, stable family but the bases remain weak. In looking for the stability in the outside world, the inner world of the family and the self get jeopardized. Love, trust, bond and hopes seem shallow. The grandfather played by Rishi Kapoor is a fun-loving man, his son is involved in an extra-marital affair, the parents keep bickering over typical issues like the meager income and other things. They hope to remain happy but cannot. The sons are men of letters, each having a story, where they have endings separate to each other’s philosophy of life. While the elder brother considers these stories as a refuge from human sorrows and plans a happy ending to his narrative, the younger brother considers his stories as reflections, which must not have a perfect ending because life hardly promises never-ending happiness. The grandfather attempts to find the perfect picture in the photo frames. The movie is all about life and art. While the beautiful and the perfect is relished by art, the imperfect and the obscure gradually become insignificant. Moving ahead these pieces of art connote to the lost happiness.
The movie perfectly assembles every component that blockbusters in India are expected to contain. The exposition of leading characters, the house that breathes together with its members, happiness and sadness that co-exist together and rain that comes right at the moment to disrupt the perfect picture not yet clicked, music adds to the surface reality. While these serious folks, the Kapoor brothers have everything that a perfect family externally poses to have, Tia (Aalia Bhatt) has nothing to call her own, she even plans to sell away the bungalow that her father had gifted her. She is the only child and is an orphan. The Kapoor brothers are psychological illustrations resembling every Indian sibling or for that matter, any sibling, anywhere in the world. They have untold jealousy for each other, the spirit to compete and prove their worth to their parents. While the elder one here seems to be mature, successful and ideal, the younger one is careless, struggling, striving to write a story of his own. To paint in the pages what life appears to be? Tia falls in love with the younger brother, but only after having kissed the elder one. This secret when revealed degrades the sibling relationship further. In that quest for life, search for livelihood, career and hopes, time goes by and they suddenly realize they never had known the darkest side of their blood relations. This scene where the brothers confront each other reveals several unspoken regrets, and is reminiscent of the way we grow up under the same roof and part ways to chase our share of destiny. Walls build up as we expose ourselves to the social world and leave behind the small world that we were born in. Life becomes hijacked by Facebook and Instagram, I-pod and selfie, video chats and telephone calls, by the time we realize time had flown further than we could imagine. The deepest secrets, things that the walls in the rooms alone know and wish to let them out, but then we never find time to talk to each other and end up doing what was not supposed to be done, we end up exposing our flaws in front of the society. The society we live in, we live for and we live according to; but this society never gives us the liberty to live as ourselves. The repeated invocation to death is again a reminder, a message to strive harder and live better, for a destiny unseen. Despite all the odds one faces, we still pine to live longer. When Tia asks Arjun what would he wish to be written on his tombstone, he says, “aakhri baar likh raha hun, ho sake to kahani yaad rakhna”. That is what life is: capture it in the photo frame, or put it into words.
If you wish to see what you fail to see in your lives, do watch the movie. If you cherish the bonds that exist eternally, memories that do not die with the person get yourself captured in the frame that will remind you of a family; after all family is not about people alone, it is the many stories that they tell, hear and pass on; each family with a unique story, identity and life.
(Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)