Katt Kat Kad Kaddu: Bonding Over Morse:
Morse code must be pretty much forgotten these days, at least in common knowledge. Telegram service has stopped, its use being over much earlier. As a matter of fact, I have never seen or sent a telegram. My memory of Morse Code is linked with a chapter on “Paul Julius Reuter” in our course. The other one is linked to the book “Cheaper by the dozen”, which was written by management expert Frank Galbraith’s children. They give an entertaining account in the book of how, among many other things, Frank Galbraith taught his children Morse Code. This chain of thoughts began, as in today’s movie Morse Code plays a vital part. At the turn of the millennium too. The other part, which runs parallel is the kaddu. Hence, the title (I think).
Captain Joshi is a retired naval officer. After retirement he has come to live in quiet small town with his servant Baburao. He is a bachelor and likes to be left alone. He is not much communicative with his neighbours. Captain Joshi’s major pre-occupation are his garden and a kaddu (pumpkin). He talks to it, plays classical music to it.
His disciplined life and stern behaviour (conceivably) prompts these two neighbourhood kids, Pappu & Dilkhush, at some mischief or the other:
In short, he is more comfortable talking to a vegetable than enter into even a short friendly conversation with a neighbour. But his organised, calm life is soon going to change.
Captain Joshi’s younger brother Shekhar visits with his wife Charu and son Saurabh. Captain Joshi is informed by his brother that he is being sent to another country for job. He tells Captain Joshi that Charu will come along, but they cannot take Saurabh there. Hence, Saurabh needs to be admitted in a school in this town after the vacations. Which means that for at least one year Captain Joshi will have to keep Saurabh with him. Captain Joshi first suggests sending Saurabh to a boarding school. But since Shekhar knows his brother, he knows what will make Captain Joshi agree, even if reluctantly.
Not that Saurabh is some kind of trouble maker or a hyperactive kid. He is quiet and sensible. He tries to get to know his uncle better, help him in some way. But that just irks Captain Joshi more.
This distresses Saurabh and one day he talks to Baburao Kaka about going to a hostel. “Tauji kaddu se baat kar sakte hain, mujhse nahin” (uncle can talk to a pumpkin but not to me). But Baburao soothes him. He tells Saurabh that Captain Saab has lived all his life among sailors and officers on a ship. He just does not know how to communicate with women and children. Everything will be all right with time.
One day not knowing how to while away his time, Saurabh finds on his Tauji’s bookshelf, a book on learning Morse Code. He gets interested and begins learning. He tries to write a message in Morse Code, which Captain’s neighbour, Mr. Bavangadhkar, hears. Being a retired postmaster he immediately recognises and deciphers it. He tells his wife that the message meant that the boy feels lonely. Then he provides an answer to the code, calling Saurabh to their home. Here he makes friends with Mr. Bavangadhkars granddaughter, Chitkala, or as everybody calls her Chitki.
Things begin to look good now for Saurabh. Saurabh & Chitki take training for Morse under Chitki’s grandpa. And slowly the two boys Pappu & Dilkhush also become their friends.
The kaddu, which Mr. Joshi cares for so deeply is being grown to be entered into a competition. This competition has been won for the past several years by Mr Shamsher Singh. So, when the Captain’s kaddu enters into the race he is annoyed. Whenever these two come across, Shamsher Singh’s first question is “Kaisa hai aapka kaddu” (how is your kaddu).
He is also sure that a person who has spent all his life on sea cannot possibly know how to grow things on land. But he is curious and anxious. One day finding the coast clear he sneaks into Captain Joshi’s backyard and finds out that his own kaddu will not stand a chance before this huge one. Obviously, there are evil plans ahead.
Morse, Kids, Captain & Kaddu:
Now is the time for the connection. Katt Katt Kad Kaddu (first 3 words for Morse & last for, well kaddu).
The kids keep communicating in Morse, believing it to be their special language. Saurabh’s Tauji is beginning to enjoy the distraction in his life and the fact that the children think he is ignorant of their coded conversations. One day while Saurabh is showing his Tauji’s room and things to his friends, Captain Joshi enters. All of them get scared and run away. Captain’s medal falls during this confusion. Unable to find the medal the Captain suspects Pappu & Dilkhush of stealing it. But they communicate via Morse Code of their innocence. Tauji catching the message finds the medal and relays back that it was found. Chitki, Pappu & Dilkhush rush to Saurabh’s house. Saurabh is at a loss, whereupon Tauji tells them that it was him. Also, that being in Navy he knows Morse and all along he was fooling them. This breaks the ice between the kids and the stern Captain.
But trouble is ahead. While this group is enjoying there newfound friendship with Tauji, his kaddu goes missing. This kaddu has by now become the kids’ pride as well.
Who took it? And how will they find it? With the competition just a day ahead how will they now enter their kaddu for it?
The one surprise for me in this movie was Dr. Mohan Agashe as Shamsher Singh. I have always seen him play a villain. Sometimes a very unpleasant one. But here he was completely different. Here too his role does not change, as you may have guessed. But his comical, crazy character (like Tom Alter’s turn as Don Douglas) is way different from those I usually came across.
Another pleasant surprise was Kamal Chopra. I have mostly seen him in advertisements, but not in any serial or movie. But he was good as a retired, stern naval officer. Perfect for the role actually, because of his smart and fit appearance.
It was a relief to see that Saurabh has been shown as a responsible, quiet kid. The kids bonding with Saurabh’s Tauji via Morse Code was also nice. As he begins to enjoy their codes, Captain Joshi slowly comes out of his shell. Meaning that after all Baburao was right about Captain Joshi. He is at a loss when talking with children. But once the ice breaks, they get to see a completely different, fun side of him. His relations with neighbours, which are mostly non-existent, improve.
I know that you would be able to guess most of Katt Katt Kad Kaddu’s remaining story. But the fun of watching it cannot be doubted.
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