If you landed here looking for the opening credits sitar music, then you will find it here.
In one reflective scene on the banks of Varanasi, a slightly smitten Rana (Irrfan Khan) walks up to the deeply lost-in-thought Piku (Deepika Padukone) trying to strike up a casual conversation. She curtly responds, “Can we sit together without talking, please?” But two seconds later, she starts a conversation. And this for me, basically sums up the essence of Piku (the movie, not just the protagonist). The essence being that our thoughts are fluid. They flow, they blend with others, and sometimes they even tend to change their course. But through it all, it still remains what it was when it began. And the movie Piku embraces this wonderfully.
But let’s start with the characters first. I don’t think Bollywood has seen a protagonist like Piku in a long while,if not ever! But the truly remarkable thing is that, she is just a simple, everyday woman. She’s not “sweet”, “cheerful”, “inspiring”, or even “ravishing”, as most of the film directors would want you to believe is a trait of a typical heroine. She just is. We don’t really get to know her real name as she just goes by the curious nickname Piku, even at work (it seems to be the season of Architects, first Tara and now Piku). She does normal household work when she’s back home – and worries about little things like yogurt going sour because it was not put in the fridge. And I think I have to give a big shout-out here to director Shoojit for bringing real life so closely to the screen. Almost every scene in this movie feels like it could happen in reality. Anyway, where was I? Yes, so if I could use one adjective for Piku it would be “spirited”. She’s also pretty much unapologetic about everything she does. It was also nice to see to see that she’s friends-with-benefits with one of her workmates but no one seems to have a problem with it. Even her father. Which brings me to…
The cantankerous Bhaskor Banerjee! The one who has no problem introducing her daughter to others as, “This is my daughter Piku and she’s not a virgin!” And you understand he does this because he doesn’t want to lose his daughter by his side. As he knows that he won’t be able to make it without her. Endearing? or Selfish? It’s up to the audience to decide. Oh and he suffers from constipation. I should have mentioned this tidbit first, as the movie revolves around this one problem of his.
The movie is both literally and figuratively about Bhaskor’s shit.
And if potty humor is not really up your really, then you might be slightly off-putted. But that’s no reason to hold off from watching this movie, though.
Rana is the owner of a cab company who inadvertently ends up driving Piku and Bhaskot to Kolkata from Delhi. I think I forgot to mention that this was a road movie. He acts as a nice reflection to both Piku and Bhaskor and ultimately becomes a driving force for much of what happens in the latter half. We don’t really know much of his character but I was glad of his presence as he added a nice third person POV to the father and daughter pair.
For me, what stands out in this movie is how unpredictable it is. Remember the essence I mentioned in my opening paragraph? See, with a movie like this, you typically expect it to end with a teary realization and a change-of-heart. Ending with Piku and Bhaskor finally embracing what they mean to each other. But the movie never goes there. The characters we know of at the beginning are still the same by the time we wrap-up. No apologies required. The greatness lies in making you root for these people, no matter what. And that you wholeheartedly do.
A word must be said on the performances as well, without which the movie would have collapsed like a pack of cards. But fortunately for us, this movie was wonderfully cast and every single cast member feels believable in his/her role. While Amitabh is irreplaceable in his role- his accent and body-language so in tune with Bhaskor – Deepika too is a joy to watch. She outdoes herself this time with a very subtle and tasteful performance. How great is it when you can tell so much of what a character is thinking just by reading the actor’s face! Irrfan is delightful, as he can only be.
OTHER THINGS THAT STOOD OUT IN THE MOVIE!
- The MUSIC!! While everyone knows that I went gaga over the songs, Anupam Roy has a winner in the background score too. That Sitar music at the opening credits is a total earworm. I dunno what’s the Bengali connection to Sitar is but I remember even The Namesake had wonderful Sitar music.
- I loved how the characters were fully “aware” of their deeds. They know that they’re being a pain in the ass, they know how much they’re sacrificing for the other.
- That red bindi. And of course the blue colored one that Deepika pulls off with oomph.
- Notice how the camera pauses for a second on each of the food items during their initial dinner party. Man, they look delicious!
- I loved the way Kolkata was shown in the movie. People always say that it is one chaotic city but it has a charm of its own. I wanna visit one day.
- If you remember the sitar music that comes midway of the song Bezubaan, it is reserved for the most uplifting scene in the movie, trust me. Someone knows how to use music to their advantage.
- A lot of dialogues about responsibility and not abandoning parents in their old age ring very true.
Final Note: When was the last time you walked out of a cinema feeling utterly satisfied? Piku gives you just that.