Rating: 4.5/5 Stars (Four and half stars)
Star Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Irrfan Khan, Jishu Sengupta, Moushumi Chatterjee
Director: Shoojit Sircar
What’s Good: I would have to actually run into a conflict with myself over what is best about the film, its story, the act or is it the man behind the camera. Simplicity drives this story that is so real that you relate to from its very first frame. One of the finest representations of familial bonds on screen.
What’s Bad: It is difficult to find faults in Piku but just that the second half experiences a minor flip from its brilliant first half.
Loo break: I bet you won’t realize if you want one!
Watch or Not?: I will go with a MUST WATCH!! It is a rare thing to find directors like Shoojit Sircar who truly understand how strongly a medium like cinema works when you want to emote something so natural.
Piku Banerjee (Deepika Padukone) is a young woman in her late twenties who lives in Delhi with her 70 something father Bhaskor Banerjee (Amitabh Bachchaan) who suffers from constipation. While her day starts with her father whining about his unsatisfactory motions, Piku who is an architect and co-owner at a firm removes her daily frustration on the service that drives her home. Scaring the drivers with her difficultly stubborn attitude, the owner of Himachal cab service, Rana Chaudhary is in a fix as his drivers refuse to travel with her who is their regular customer. Piku’s partner in business and also a person that she is involved in a casual physical relation with (Jissu Chaterjee) is the only other man other than her dad whom she connects with.
Coming from an extremely progressive background, Piku’s father is not only aware of her physical relation but also wants her to remain unmarried until she has the right aim to and does not want her to give away her professional success and aspirations for some man she marries. This is reflective of his own marriage since after he marries Piku’s mom, she leaves her job to take up household responsibilities, something that Bhaskor does not want Piku to repeat in her life.
While Piku’s father is aging and is going through the paranoia of constipation and death, he wishes to visit his Kolkata home that Piku is planning to sell. Annoyed after going through series of arguments daily over her father’s health which is medically stable yet a illusion for him, Piku decides to take him to Kolkata.
Well, since he cannot travel in either trains or airplanes due to his self-proclaimed health conditions, Piku is forced to book a cab from Rana’s service. What lies ahead a 40 hour long journey, an unimaginable road trip.
During this will Piku realize how similar she is to her father and also is there a possibility for her and Rana to have a romantic angle? Watch it!
What was it that filmmakers like Hrishikesh Mukherjee ride on as their films like Chupke Chupke met with huge success? It was nothing but simplicity and reality. When you serve pure emotions without dabbing them with material and commercial formulas, you get a Piku. Juhi Chaturvedi needs to be given a huge thanks for penning down this brilliantly light film. It is quirky and fresh and so relatable that at some point you feel ‘is it based on my family’. Just the concept of how a 70 year old father is struggling with constipation and genuinely connects everything with it, is a sheer brilliance. The dialogue writing is so taut that you enjoy those little laughs and emotional hiccups that they get.
I have to say that Rana gets the best lines and especially when he says ‘Death aur shit kabhi bhi kahin bhi aa sakte hai’, you know these are life lessons presented in their best possible language. Even though the entire film keeps revolving around ‘motion and types of motion’ not once are you disgusted with it. When you truly write a script from the heart, you get films like Piku.
One more thing to note is that, mind you, this will be a reminder of all your Bong friends and their chaotic families, not to mention their ‘I am always right’ nature in a playful way.
Deepika Padukone is on a roll. She has been on a great stride ever since Chennai Express and what appeals to me even more is her choice of films. With Piku she proves how easily she can sneak into a character that seems naturally her. I finally got to see more Piku than Deepika in the film.
Amitabh Bachchan is once again successful at proving that he may be old and ageing but we still have so much more to see from the veteran actor. As Baba, he is the most stubborn father you will come across. The actor gives the film the required élan that is probably inherent to him as an actor.
Irrfan Khan as Rana Chaudhary completely rocks. I am not surprised at all at the brilliance of his act because I am aware that he is an actor of a great stature and post The Lunchbox, I bet none would doubt that. Rana’s character became my favorite from the film and Irrfan pulled it off with much ease.
Moushumi Chatterjee is just her Bong self. She plays Piku’s ‘maasi’ who is extremely straight forward. Chatterjee brings in a good quirk with her act.
Raghuveer Yadav plays the role of Dr. Srivastava who is seen in a small role yet noteworthy. Jissu Chatterjee plays Syed Afroze, again a small role yet quite satisfactory.
Direction, Editing and Screenplay
I have to admit, after Piku, I have become a bigger fan of Shoojit Sircar. After a hilarious Vicky Donor, a thrilling Madras Cafe, he presents us an emotional and melancholic Piku. The film right from its first frame builds a certain aura that is extremely homely. Showcasing a father-daughter relation at a stage where it is probably the most important, Sircar wins you with the tale. Shooting across locations in Delhi, Benaras and Kolkata, his locations are eloquent of the emotions that lay underneath the story.
Director of Photography, Kamaljeet Negi’s visuals are endearing as we see a beautiful sunrise from the Howrah bridge or even the calm that the night shoot of Benaras ghat captures. Rest of the indoor scenes take you into your drawing rooms. Editing is crisp, just that the interval seems a little abrupt bit overall limiting the film to a two hours fifteen minute journey, Sircar’s work is perfect.
The Last Word
Piku will make you laugh, cry and smile all at once. It is a slice of life film that captures a rather unseen but the most real father-daughter relation ever. Don’t miss this endearingly honest piece of work!