If you were wondering whether this film was all about pooping and constipation, I wouldn’t dare to counter you. But I would urge you to watch it. Watch it not for those few nauseous moments of highly-descriptive motion-passing incidents but for the simple message it brings to you. In short, the message touches your heart. Bollywood cinema has long lost its ability to make the faithful Hindi-film addict laugh. That is one place where this movie stands out. Piku – You taught me a lot by making me laugh so hard.
For those of you who don’t know what the film is about, then here is gist. It is going to be crude and short – bear with me. Piku (Deepika Padukone) is an architect who lives with her father, Bhaskar Banerjee (Amitabh Bachchan). Bhaskar is a hypochondriac, suffering from constipation. The story takes you through the life of this father and his unmarried daughter. Bhaskar decides to take a road trip to Kolkata – his hometown. That’s when enters Rana Chaudhury (Irrfan Khan), a UP-ite with a Bengali name. He owns a taxi company and ends up driving this crazy family to Kolkata. Filled with humour, the movie connects to every kind of audience. Indian values and family relationships take their place in a modern time.
Here is why I liked the film – I connected with it at each level. If you are from a family that harbours the 1920’s generation and a father who pops in pills for his sugar, you are pretty much playing the role of Piku.
The 1920s brand is irreplaceable. Their will power, self-control, principles and beliefs are way stronger than any young activist screaming his throat out loud against corruption. Bhaskar is one such character. A 70-year-old man who has strong views on women, marriage and well, most importantly, poop.
When he says that constipation is a huge problem, it definitely triggers laughter. But over the last year, I have realised how much of an issue it is, especially for the older generation. From walking to sitting, to eating and sleeping, everything becomes a nightmare if you don’t poop – a big problem indeed!
What this film has done is remarkable. Shoojit Sircar (Director of Piku) has effortlessly and skillfully presented this health problem in a way that the audience understands its seriousness. The humour makes it a light watch but the message makes it a worthwhile one.
While dealing with older people, their stubbornness is what gets to the younger ones. They refuse to listen and they are quite obstinate. They like doing things their way and that is precisely why we haven’t kept a cook yet. And that is why the maid in the movie leaves her job too. Piku then takes care of her father with the sole help of a male caretaker. But in the end, as a daughter, grandson or niece, you give in to their demands. Why? Because they are your loved ones.
In the middle of a meeting, Piku gets a call from her dad. She runs home. She hears he has mild fever, she leaves her date and goes home. He wants to go to Kolkata even though he is terribly ill, she goes with him. He insists on a road trip, she agrees.
She finds it frustrating, irritating and overly “selfish” on his part to be so insensitive, uncaring and inconsiderate to her life. Not to mention, her love life.
Things are no different in reality. With rising BP levels and high-pitched arguments, quarrels make their way into the daily routine. The youth don’t have the patience to handle the stubbornness. The elderly refuse to make a compromise and well, to listen. Generation gaps, if you ask me, is a problem larger than constipation!
Does this mean that love, harmony and family moments are dead and buried? Far from it. Amidst this frustration lies a guilt that there was a fight. There lies an urge to buy a bar of chocolate or to bake a cupcake or to book a surprise ticket to a movie, to make up for it. “You fight most only with those whom you love,” is that saying that has always stood ground. Things get sorted, life resumes again. And the cycle repeats.
A crucial moment in the film is when Bhaskar says that Piku sees him as a “burden”. The constant anger that she expresses apparently indicates this. Sounds familiar?
It isn’t uncommon for grandparents, old uncles and aunts to feel that they are a burden to their children and nephews because they are dependent on them after a certain age. They are upset that they cannot do things with the swiftness that they used to. Dependence is alien to them and to say that they loathe it would be an understatement.
When Rana hears this, he is furious and screams at Bhaskar telling him why he is wrong. If children saw grandparents as burdens, they wouldn’t pamper and give in to each of their idiosyncrasies.
Lastly, it is the wish of every person to die a peaceful death. Bhaskar is no different. He reminds Piku that he doesn’t want to be pricked with needles and poked with tubes in different parts of his body for his treatment. At home, this line is heard much too often and it connected with me too well.
The romance that plays out between Piku and Rana is nice to watch. It is gradual, sweet and pleasant. It is something that was rather unimaginable initially but it panned out very well.
As for other technical aspects, I loved the cinematography for the scenes in Kolkata. It gave you a feel of the place. The sunset, the bridge, the streets, the house – everything simply put you there.
Product placements went to the next level in this film. The movie gave enough publicity to all those sponsors and advisers who wanted their product to be “in the face” of the audience. From Snapdeal to Himalayan water, everything was pretty evident!
The songs have a nice tune and finally, the lyrics have some meaning. Bezubaan is my favourite. The tune that plays while the credits roll is my second favourite. I don’t seem to find it on the internet though.
Acting requires little review. With Amitabh Bachchan stealing the show, there is little that anyone else can do. Nevertheless, Deepika and Irrfan have a charm of their own and have played their parts perfectly well.
The make-up and costumes are simple and apt. The kurtas are smart, with vibrant colours and patterns. The stoles and the accessories are contrasts and stand out well. Yes, I wanted every one of them.
Family, relationships and love is what makes this movie a must-watch. If you are hoping to bring some moments of laughter in your otherwise mundane life, then book a ticket and watch this film with your family. Trust me, the movie is anything but shit!