Srimoyee Tamuli Phukan reviews Piku
Had it not been for the extraordinary subtitle, who would have thought that a seemingly innocent title like ‘Piku’, would be about a riveting tale of bowel ‘motions,’and the high ‘emotions’ riding on it?
In the world of Piku (Deepika Padukone), her father, Bhaskor Banerjee, (Amitabh Bachchan) and their house-help, mornings start with high pitched and explicit discussions around Bhaskor Banerjee’s‘motion’ troubles. At the age of 70, he is a widower with a 30-year-old unmarried daughter, whose life revolves around her father’s self-absorbed and often imaginary and exaggerated health issues. He makes impulsive and unapologetic calls to Piku to discuss his bowel troubles, while she is trying to find some semblance in her life. He mercilessly seeks her attention at all hours of the day, to the point of being selfish. Banerjee obsesses over his blood pressure levels, hides salt from the house-help,and would simply travel any lengths to get rid of his constipation that defines his life at his age.
The Director of ‘Piku’, Shoojit Sircar, dazzles in the genius sensitivity and lightheartedness with which he treats the serious issue of old age and the shifting dynamics of parent-children relationship. Writer, Juhi Chaturvedi, draws from the relationship between idiosyncratic aging parents and their exasperated children, and manages to address pertinent questions of duty and sacrifice. The frustrations and the obsessions that crop up in the deal are presented as they are without any melodrama. Probably humor is the best way to deal with such situations; this sentiment has been echoed in the film, both by Piku and Rana Choudhary (Irrfan Khan), who is dealing with his over-bearing mother and sister duo. But the camera moves steadfastly over the father-daughter duo, while Rana is merely a catalyst to get the ball rolling, actually,the ‘motions’ flowing in this case. Rana’s entry stretches the comic strain of Banerjee’s detailed and graphic discussions around his ‘motions.’ In an interesting turn in the film, Rana marvels at how Banerjee manages to link every topic to his bowel situation. It is almost as though Rana is trying to understand what might inspire such over-zealousness about such an insignificant topic. His interventionmanages to elicit guffaws on many instances from the initial repressed laughter amongst viewers.
With just the right balance of drama, dialogues and situational comedy, ‘Piku’ delivers an extraordinary tale about seemingly mundane and ordinary lives. Amitabh Bachchan is so entertaining that you would readily ignore his sometimes overdone Bengali accent; Deepika brings just the right pitch and emotions to fight, tackle and embrace the difficult father she dearly loves. Irrfan, with his trademark poker face wit and humor,stirs up the already crackling ride that ‘Piku’ is. The supporting cast creates a delightful environment where everyone seems to treat Banerjee and his problem with an affectionate familiarity. The film might seem losing its pace at times, especially during the road trip, but the writer is clever enough to offer situationalcomic reliefs just when the screenplay demands it. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that ‘Piku’ is by far one of the most entertaining films that 2015 has seen. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself calling your parents to tell themgo watch this one, and take the grandparents too, for everyone will take a piece of ‘Piku’ home with them.