Director: Shoojit Sircar
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Irrfan Khan
A father who introduces his 30-year-old daughter to her suitors as a "financially, emotionally and sexually independent, non-virgin woman" and a daughter who scolds her dad for his obsession with health and tells him it would have been better if he had some disease.
Deepika Padukone proves yet again that she is perhaps one of the most dedicated lead actors the industry can boast of and one who does not disappoint with her bold choice of non-glamorous, refreshing roles. Her attitude in the film will in remind you of all your women friends who are independent, have a mind of their own and do not allow anyone to dictate their lives (that is, if you are not one yourself).
Amitabh Bachchan is endearing and real in his portrayal of a 70-year-old man, dependant on his daughter. However, in his bid to come across as the ageing man who turns progressively childish in his demeanour, Amitabh does sound a lot like Auro (his character from Paa).
While all the characters in Piku are well etched and present a very realistic picture, it is Irrfan Khan who stands out. He does not have as many dialogues as Piku or the eccentricities of Amitabh's character but his facial expressions and body language ensure your eyes are glued on to him every time he is onscreen.
In a sequence during their road trip to Kolkata, Irrfan is trying to warm up to Deepika, enquiring about her ambitions and plans in life when Amitabh interrupts and lectures on how Irrfan should have gone about his life. The script does not allow a comeback for Irrfan's character, neither is he given any space for body movements to express his discomfort.
In another sequence, when Irrfan is still trying to breach the domestic code and make an entry into the quirky, crazy family of Piku, he walks up to Amitabh and hands him a bunch of herbs. He tells Big B, "Tulsi aur pudina hai, isko ubalo aur piyo. Fir dekho kaise pet saaf hota hai."
Without having really focused on Rana's character, Shoojit gives a peek into world with this sequence: He is a man who is well-rooted and carries his own share of knowledge of home remedies and dealing with domestic issues.
Jisshu Sengupta does not have much of screen space but he leaves an impression with his portrayal of Deepika's business partner who has learnt to live with the craziness of Piku and her dad. Moushumi Chatterjee fits into the role of Deepika's maternal aunt who loves Piku's family as her own.
Shoojit and his camera showcases Kolkata's beauty without over-glorifying it. Kamaljeet Negi, Piku's cinematographer, pans his camera across the locations, capturing the charms of old Kolkata. Anupam Roy's background music adds to the Bengali character of the narrative.
Piku, nonetheless, disappoints in bits and parts. The family of Irrfan is not given much footage in Piku. We are introduced to his family in passing but there is no closure to his struggles in life. Even Deepika-Amitabh's relation, the focal point of the movie, ends on a very predictable note. But that does not take away the pleasure of watching of a warm, endearing and sweet film that Piku is.
The story of Piku, does not hold much weight and its ordinariness would have crumbled to stale jokes on digestive systems had it not been for the brilliant narrative and overpowering performances.
An emotionally rich and endearing film, Piku is a heart-warming experience that every Indian who has lived with ailing or ageing parent will connect to. Independent women who juggle their professional and personal lives with domestic responsibilities are likely to identify more with it.
Piku offers no masala or romantic escapades but neither does it bog you down with preachy monologues and gyan on how kids should be responsible towards their parents. This is the kind of entertainers Bollywood should aim at.
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