CAST: Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Irrfan Khan, Moushumi Chatterjee, Balendra Singh, Raghuvir Yadav, Jisshu Sengupta, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Akshay Oberoi.
DIRECTION: Shoojit Sircar.
GENRE: Comedy, Bollywood, Drama
DURATION: 2 hour 2 minutes
Shoojit Sircar has always had this love affair with the urban spaces of Kolkata, seen in Vicky Donor. In Piku, his camera eye spans the old houses of north Kolkata, lingers through the familiar smell of known alleys, peers across the familiar stops like Shyambazar more, College street, the tram tracks running across like nerves in the body of the city…and touches everything that bears this old world charm..of the ‘City of Joy’, grown old but nonetheless carries a charm of its own.
Being a Bengali one can perfectly understand the Bong obsession with gas, digestion and constipation which constitutes the chief theme of the movie. Although the film lacks a firm plot as such yet it offers a slice of life that flows on in its own rhythm and music and the overall impact that it creates is one that captures the heart.
Father-daughter relationship has been an interesting emotional bond which both cinema and literature have explored time and again; Piku brings to the conventional bond a mint-like freshness through the use of humour which gets reflected through the family’s endless toilet discourses. It’s hilarious to see how the seventy year old father and unmarried daughter alternatively bond and separate over constipation and bowel movement, with the stressed and lonely Piku (Deepika Padukone) finding it hard to deal with the tantrums of an ageing hypochondriac father at times, who is never satisfied with his toilet ventures. But what comes across through their constant fights and banters is the profound yet understated love for each other, the importance of being together, and the depth of that love which only comes to surface when one is challenged with the idea of losing one’s nearest and dearest one.
The chemistry between the aunt and the niece and the little subtleties which fly between the car ‘owner’ and Piku regarding the irritable yet loving father makes the film entertaining to watch. The one liners grafted within the film’s drama are funny and crisp. Dialogues like father’s introduction of the daughter to a stranger, as an independent working woman yet not a ‘virgin’, or the garrulous aunt joking with her brother in law about how he had reached his ‘menopause’ with senility have never been heard before in mainstream Hindi cinema. It is interesting how Piku dismantles the traditional middleclass social decorum, by veering the narrative through endless talk on the loss of virginity, married women wearing nighties without bra, on menopause, need for sex life, and nuances of family feuds. This brings the film closer to an everyday level of mundaneness, in which no one is completely saintly, neither is any one totally heinously evil.
The ending divested of sentimentalization, delves deep into questions of unpredictability of life and inevitability of death, and the film ends on a note of quiet acceptance of life and death showing life as a constant journey of meeting and parting. The supporting cast is brilliant and nobody but Moushumi Chatterjee would enact the role of the vivacious aunt with such perfection for her comic timing is perfect to say the least. Amitabh Bacchhan touches the heart as the erratic, hypochondriac but loving father. Irrfan Khan stands out as the owner of the travel agency in a movie that could have been otherwise merely a father-daughter film. In an age where every word has to be spelt out to be understood, the film shows that love can also be a silent gesture of care and concern, Miss Padukone has proved her mettle yet again. Piku is a family entertainer, one that you can take an aging parent to, who love to hold on to their roots. In an age where old structures are constantly being broken and reconstituted, the film shows how life is another name of holding on to memories.
Piku, without being preachy, successfully conveys a social message which is rather timely. At a point of time, when even nuclear families are breaking down, with children relocating to other cities, leaving their old parents behind to look after their emptied houses, Piku brings together certain moments which inspire a strengthening of the parent-child relationship. Perhaps, the film touches a chord with everyone, by stringing together certain easily identifiable familiar moments, moments of despair and happiness, when one has an ageing, almost child-like parent to look after. While the film critiques the power of relationship, in which the parent always takes advantage of being the parent, it also unveils the sheer joy in the ability in successfully parenting a parent. Rana Chaudhury’s (Irrfan Khan) petulant mother and her regular squabbles with her son reinforce the message that there’s nothing to romanticise about the family, yet, there exists enough reason that makes one to stick on to it. By associating a dysfunctional digestive system (motion) with emotion, Sircar generates a powerful symbol.
The film offers a treat to the eye of the city lover. For a Kolkataphile the foggy, early morning or late evening shots of the city and its usual landmarks always come as a bonus treat. The engineer sees the city as a problem, the planner sees order and disorder, the novelist as an accumulation of interconnected stories, the clubber as terrain animated by and through hedonistic experiences, the criminal as opportunities, the pensioner, stranded in decaying public housing city, as a jungle, but also as the repository of memories.’ The film becomes a trip down memory lane. Bhaskor Banerji (Amitabh Bachchan) dies in the same house where his heart lied.
A must watch film Piku does not make you cry but it makes you feel that life has a lot to smile and be grateful for.
Content Writing : Anindita Chatterjee Original Copyright © 2014 LaughaLaughi.com
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