Bollywood films releasing these days are in the process of a complete makeover, and in this process we’re getting to experience some truly engaging and entertaining films. Shoojit Sircar’s Piku, that I’ve been looking forward to for the longest time, is a fine example of the triumph of this process.
Piku is a sweet story of Bhaskor Banerjee (Amitabh Bachchan) and his daughter Piku (Deepika Padukone). Bhaskor is this 70-year-old man with irritatingly loud mood swings and self-belief of being forever unwell. He’s rude and irritating to the point of being eccentric and obsessed with his bowels. Constipation is a subject he loves to discuss, even if it’s on the breakfast and dinner table. The conversation in this house is all about shit – colour, texture, frequency, consistency. Potty is described as mango pulp, semi liquid and greenish. Piku- an Architect by profession, loves her father to death and does nothing apart from her job and being concerned about her Dad’s health and of course his mood swings. Oh and just by the way, she is nearly as loud & temperamental as her father.
When Bhaskor and Piku decide to do a road trip from Delhi to Kolkata, the local car rental company’s owner Rana Chaudhary (Irrfan Khan) has no option but to drive them himself after all his drivers refuse to suffer the ordeal. This journey becomes an emotional revelation for them all. As the rest of the film unravels, it focuses on the evolving relationships between the three protagonists and how it changes them all forms the crux of the story. This is a movie about the journey, both literal and emotional.
The movie touches upon some basic issues, facts and beliefs of life, and the trio potray it so beautifully. Deepika going up against two terrific actors, gracefully commands the frame. Amitabh Bachchan is wonderful as the pot-bellied Bhashkor – impossible to live with and equally impossible to dislike. Irrfan, effortlessly compelling, completes the triangle. There is no definitive storyline; no items songs to distract; there are no big surprises in the screenplay; but Juhi Chaturvedi – who has written the story, screenplay and dialogue – creates such strong characters that we don’t lose interest. The fact that throughout the film, I was not concerned with what Piku means (or may perhaps be short for) illustrates honesty and a storytelling confidence rare to our cinema.
All in all, Piku made me laugh and cry. It beautifully explores the most basic bond of life – a parent, a child, a beginning and an end. Watch it for the terrific trio of Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and Irrfan Khan.