When’s the last time you watched an Indian movie that explores father-daughter relationship in detail? I don’t. There must be quite a handful of such movies out there (or not), but I’ve neither seen them nor heard about them.
Piku is a story about an old ageing father (Amitabh Bachchan as Bhashkor Banerjee) and his daughter (Deepika Padukone as Piku Banerjee), and how they come to terms with their mutually-dependent-yet-troubled lives.
The father is a 70-year-old, retired, highly cynical (a critical Bengali man in his own terms), and constipated (more on this later) man.
The daughter is an independent 30-year-old woman who doesn’t restrict herself from all that life has to offer, except when making sacrifices to take care of her father.
Bhashkor is highly supportive of his daughter’s choices, even though you don’t feel like that from the outset.
Most of the film’s dialogues are largely based on constipation, which Bhaskor suffers from throughout the movie. The daughter-father duo leave no stone unturned in tackling it. In fact, a major part of the movie’s dialogue is centered around this very topic.
The last time I saw such a move from Bollywood was in Delhi Belly, but that was childish potty humour. This is much more subtle Bengali humour; you’ll appreciate it better.
Piku tackles scatological humour brilliantly. The writer Juhi Chaturvedi (of Vicky Donor fame) has shown yet again how she can tackle queer subjects like constipation (and sperm donation in her previous movie) in a seriously funny way.
Irrfan Khan plays the role of Rana Chaudhary (a non-Bengali to be specific) as cool as ever. Rana is the owner of the cab company that Piku relies on to travel around Delhi.
When Bhashkor decides to visit his ancestral property in Kolkota by road (and nothing else), Piku is left with no choice but to travel with her stubborn father. Not surprisingly for them, no cab driver is ready to take them on this arduous road trip. Rana has to step in himself and drive this crazy family of two to where they want to go.
From this point on the plot transforms into a road trip movie. Rana‘s sarcastic comments complements Piku‘s and Bhashkor‘s unnecessary bickering perfectly.
There’s no additional fluff in the movie. The music is pleasant and soothing. The plot moves as quickly as a vehicle does on Yamuna Expressway.
Irrfan is truly one of the pearls among the majority of Bollywood’s substandard shitty actors who’re ready to play any role to rake in as much cash as possible.
Amitabh is a class of his own in this movie. Like an ageing wine, he’s shown yet again why age is not just a number, but a valuable asset too. I could sense a bit of his decades old angry-man avatar in a few of the scenes; that was a delightful reminder of how far he’s come since then.
Fresh from the controversy surrounding her Vogue ad, Deepika has proved with Piku why her choice was right all along. When you’re surrounded with talent such as Amitabh and Irrfan, an amazing director (Shoojit Sircar), and not to mention a brilliant script, there’s no reason why you should hold yourself back.
I wasn’t a fan of Deepika before, but her portrayal of Piku in this movie has made me one now.
With all that being said, and leaving the praises aside, this movie is just a story about an urban upper-middle-class family. Piku is a privileged woman who travels by private cabs to her workplace and lives with her open-minded father. Had it been any different (and by that I mean more representative of an average Indian family), it would be a different affair altogether. This is just one mild complaint I have about this movie’s story. I do realize that one single movie cannot tackle every societal malice one it own.
Piku is one of those rare Bollywood movies that you shouldn’t miss. If you’ve given up on Bollywood and everything it stands for (and justifiably so), you should try watching Piku. I’m sure it’ll reinstill your hopes in Hindi movies.