Film Review: 'Piku'
Opened: 8 May 2015
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan, Deepika Padukone, Moushumi Chatterjee, Raghuvir Yadav, Jishu Sengupta, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Akshay Oberoi
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Producers: N.P. Singh, Ronnie Lahiri, Sneha Rajani
I was always charged about Piku. Ever since the first promo aired, there was an obvious sparkle and charm about the film, and as it turns out, I was spot on.
Amidst all the BS Bollywood churns out year on year, Piku comes like a whiff of fresh air (ironic given that the film essentially revolves around constipation!), relying on its razor sharp wit, cynical banter and amiable camaraderie between its engaging, talented cast (Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan) to see it through – which it succeeds in doing to a large extent.
In Piku, Padukone (effortlessly natural) plays the titular character, an uptight Delhi-based Bengali architect juggling between running her home and taking care of her grumpy, anti-social dad, Bhashkor Banerji (Bachchan), who spends most of his time obsessing about imaginary illnesses and trips to the toilet. Bhashkor’s demanding nature leaves Piku with little time to live her life, and yet she willingly succumbs to his request of a road trip to their home city (Kolkata), along with an unwitting owner of a local cab service, Rana (Khan, engaging despite being merely being a spectator in the proceedings). Unsurprisingly, it turns out to be the journey of a lifetime and one that inevitably alters the course of their lives forever.
Although Piku takes its time to unwind, it picks up momentum once the three protagonists embark on their journey and ultimately that’s when the fun begins. To see Bachchan and Khan taking chuckle-worthy potshots and playing off of each other is nothing short of a riot, and there were several scenes that I found myself literally rolling with laughter. It’s not all fun and games though. The film inevitably takes a serious turn and is peppered with some poignant moments between Padukone and Bachchan both of whom are simply spellbinding in a film that relies predominantly on their status quo.
Padukone, especially, is a marvel to watch enacting her part with a quiet dignity and utmost sincerity by sprinkling her scenes with little touches that will make your heart go out to her character. It is her film and she ably supports it on her slender shoulders, scoring a perfect ten, which is no mean feat when you’re sharing the screen with thespians like Irrfan and Amitabh Bachchan, who themselves are immensely likeable in the film.
The supporting players get their moments too. Moushumi Chaterjee enacts her part with grace as do Jishu Sengupta and Raghuvir Yadav and their moments with the key players too are immediately identifiable. For instance, we all have that one meddling aunt, who however annoying has her heart in the right place.
Shoojit Sircar seems to have made this film with heart and it shows in virtually every frame. Whether it’s the sweeping camerawork in Kolkata, the cracking, laugh out loud dialogue (reminiscent of Hrishikesh Mukherjee films of yore), or the lilting yet unobtrusive background score, there’s an unmistakable stamp of passion, and that ultimately proves to be the film’s major strength. My only niggle with Piku was that Irrfan’s character could have been fleshed out a tad – there are times when you feel he could have added a little more to the script as a whole.
Despite that, it's seriously hard to imagine that a film that’s running gag revolves around constipation would have as much soul as this one does. I’m going with a hearty four stars, with an entire star just for Deepika, who continues to dazzle us with her range. Don't miss it.