Piku

Piku-Movie-Poster

Piku
Release date: May 8, 2015
Directed by: Shoojit Sircar
Cast: Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan, Moushumi Chatterjee, Jishu Sengupta, Raghuvir Yadav, Swaroopa Ghosh

Ambitiously named after the film’s supposed protagonist Piku Banerjee (Deepika Padukone), the film treats the audience as a member of the immediate family of the characters on screen. So much so that it doesn’t even bother telling you Piku’s bhaalo naam or formal name. The drama between the family is open for a balcony view just like how you amuse yourself by eavesdropping on the loud voices emanating from your neighbor’s house.

There are no elaborate “entry sequences” to signify the entrance of any of the film’s characters, it just starts off right in the middle of a chaotic morning at Bhashkor Banerjee’s house in Delhi. There are conversations about bowel movements that your parents usually have with you, and I even take them as far as to my friends and shy barely of making them public to rank strangers. There are conversations about how marriage is futile if you sacrifice on your existence. Then there are annoying conversations, all of these have Bhashkor (Amitabh Bachchan) actively involved in them.

Bhashkor fluctuates between affable, agreeable and outright intolerable. He perfectly captures the spirit of an attention-seeking senior citizen by being as controversial as he can at dinner tables and anniversary soirees, and as authoritarian in a road journey with his daughter Piku and Rana Chowdhary (Irrfan Khan). Except the purpose of this journey is as ill-founded as its outcome. Piku is overworked and over-irked by her father’s theatrics and wants a break. There’s some ancestral house-selling mumbo jumbo, unclear in its detailing, added to the mix.

There are quite a few verbal references to Piku’s sex life, and they seem forced, given the setting of the characters. But it’s just a layer to add to her acceptance towards casual relationships. Moushumi Chatterjee’s Chaubi Masi is too boisterous to be self-deprecating, at least for me. The film itself isn’t quite about a road trip, nor the story of some major transformation or evolution in any of the character graphs. Perhaps, even too simple a story. What helps is that all of it is majorly character-driven.

The principal cast of Bachchan and Padukone nail their Bengali parts darn well. Deepika, in another young single woman role, takes a great deviation in the in-your-face sex appeal of Finding Fanny and is on point with her playful Bengali diction. The most authentic sounding moment is the one where she mouths off “paachcha” at a dinner table and laughs it off in the most unassuming way. Her chemistry with her onscreen father is absolutely superlative. Bachchan delivers an impassioned performance as the grand old man of the Banerjee family. Whereas, Irrfan’s Rana is a tricky hand. He plays a guy who’s much younger than his actual age, yet not too young to be immature. He’s the middling element between the two different sides and he carries it off easily.

Piku (the film) touches upon small quirks very well, like how we may develop the thickest of skins while dealing with family members, but we guard them valiantly anyhow. It is delightful, sweet and enjoyable, but has little success in the “emotion” department, which is a huge dent on its byline — “motion se hi emotion”. The funny family drama, with all its relatable content, could never make me empathize with it.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

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