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Piku: Movie Review

Rating: 3.5/5

CAST:Amitabh Bachchan, DeepikaPadukone, Irrfan Khan, MoushumiChatterjee

DIRECTION:ShoojitSircar

GENRE:Comedy 

Charming, delightful,and bittersweet family drama, Piku turns the genre completely on its head. The result is a magnificently original film that delivers a memorably unique movie experience.

Piku offers a fresh and deliciously quirky take on a deeply layered father-daughter relationship that borders on the dysfunctional.

Piku is the story of a cranky old Bengali widower BhaskorBanerji (Amitabh Bachchan) who subjugates his paternal instincts to the health, or the lack of it, of his alimentary canal.

The more trouble that the crotchety gentleman has clearing his bowels, the more difficult he becomes for everyone around him, including a harried maid who he summarily accuses of kleptomania.

Mr. Banerji has a formidable counterpoint is an equally strong-willed daughter, Piku (DeepikaPadukone), a busy architect who, despite the challenges that her dad poses every waking hour, takes the man's frequent mood swings in her stride.Caught between the two is a cab service owner RanaChaudhary (Irrfan Khan) who, as the baffled outsider in the course of a road trip that threatens to run off the rails, gives both father and daughter perspectives that promise to deliver them from the stalemate they are trapped in.

On the face of it, there isn't much scope for overt conventional drama in this narrative construct in which most conversations veer around to the old man's daily potty trouble. But the film is packed with humour, poignancy and occasional dashes of bathos, which ensure that all the shit-talk does not stink.

The two central characters of Piku are the kind of figures that one does not encounter all that often in Hindi cinema.  A father is an unabashedly selfish man. He does not want his daughter to get married because he dreads the thought of being left alone. At the same time, he is a father who has no qualms about declaring that Piku "is not a virgin" and "is financially and sexually independent".

The possibility of Piku and Rana developing an emotional bond with each other on a Delhi-Kolkata road trip remains just that - a possibility that stops well short of culmination.

Piku is not a romantic comedy although it has an entire strand that could have yielded a full-blown love story. That it does not only adds to its richness.

The drama is inherent in the little moments of disagreement and the sudden, rare flashes of consonance between the two central characters, and between the duo and the extended family.

The insightful writing (screenplay and dialogues: JuhiChaturvedi) and Sircar's deft directorial touches fill every frame and every scene with delicious irony.

Piku isn't only about a man and his toilet travails. It is also about ageing, filial responsibility and nostalgia for what is gone forever.

Yes, Piku is also about the inexorable passage of time, which impacts everything - individuals, families, cities, cultures and belief systems.

The direction's brilliant. Deft, yet deep, ShoojitSircar presents characters so ordinary, they're wonderful, people and places intimately intertwined, an aunt pickled in resentment, boats almost painted on a sheet-like Ganga.

With passion, there's precision too, the editing fish-bone sharp, detailing, down to Bhaskor's monkey cap, perfect. Some moments evoke Ang Lee's terrific 'Eat Drink Man Woman'. Others evoke your and my life. Together, Piku makes you shake with laughter. It also makes your heart cry.

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