Pihu movie review: Beware of this silly, sadistic baby-hating movie
Director - Vinod Kapri
Cast - Myra Vishwakarma
Rating - 1.5/5
Who would want to watch a baby cry? Nobody, and that’s what dooms Vinod Kapri’s silly and sadistic film Pihu, where a little girl walks precariously around an apartment without being watched or cared for. The idea — of anything in a house being a potential threat — could have been made into a watchable short film, but this is feature-length torture, where the viewer is made aware that they must sit through more than ninety minutes of a helpless and endangered child, despite knowing that nothing can really happen to her before the end.
Watching Pihu feels like being stranded on a late-night flight with a loud child, underprepared parents and no headphones. Things happen to young Pihu — played by an adorable Tweety-bird of a child, Myra Vishwakarma — but none of these appear dangerous, even though the filmmakers try their darnedest to amp up the horror and shoot geysers and irons as sinisterly as possible.
Watch the Pihu trailer here
The film opens the morning after Pihu’s birthday party, which we hear during the opening credits. She gets up and tries to wake her mother, who cannot be woken — though the film is so loud and sadistic I often wondered if the child will indeed be able to rouse the dead. Right from the beginning, Pihu finds herself in peril as she tackles staircases, stools and sleeping pills, though to me the scariest thing in the film might be the fact that this unsupervised child chooses a television channel playing a Salman Khan song.
Pihu’s father is travelling, but frequently shows up in photographs around the house — one of which shows him receiving a Best Engineers Award — and several cute photographs with Pihu, none of which feature the mother. He calls up and talks to his wife and is apparently so driven to argue with her that he is unperturbed by her silence, and is so impassioned about fighting that he locks himself in an airplane bathroom in order to continue talking to her even as air-hostesses want the phone switched off. His big message is that Pihu’s mother switch the iron off… Or else.
This entire film is predicated on ‘or else,’ every scene showing Pihu surrounded by things that could kill her, from cleaning fluid to an easily climbed balcony railing, and to me this is the most obscene audience manipulation, literally dangling a child off a height in order to force the viewer to feel scared. This is a weird film where the background score wouldn’t sound out of place during a movie exorcism, a film that pushes the camera briefly into the microwave. It also puts the little girl into a refrigerator — prompting my friend Sudhish Kamath to say something that must be quoted: “Ice ice baby.”
This is Baby’s Day Out without humour, and Trapped with a pint-sized Rajkummar Rao. It is a wannabe-horror version of Home Alone that makes no sense as a film — unless the producers are actually planning to launch a new line of baby-monitors. Here the child constantly tries to clean things, sweep things, serve her mother, as if conditioned for chores like a little mini-maid. Infants deserve better. Remember that in Bringing Up Baby, the best film to ever have a Baby in the title, the baby was a tiger.
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