Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Piku- Review of a film by Shoojit Sarkar

Medical  science has  been talking lately of a second brain in the human body , whose upkeep is perhaps more important for a healthy body and life. Its the meters-long gastrointestinal tract that helps pass the waste post-digestion from inside of a human body. Khuswant Singh,the late journalist cum novelist , had said in an interview (just prior to his death at the ripe old age of 92) last year that the secret to one's long life lies in finding out one's own magic-potion that helps clear out gastro-intestinal tract every morning. For some it's pudina leaves , for others its isabgul  or paraffin but for Khuswant it was his evening quota of two large pegs of scotch whiskey that did the trick.

In the film , Piku,  the father of the protagonist - a retired executive at 70 & a widower living with his
unmarried working daughter - plays the role of one such miserable man who is unable to find his magic potion and thus is forced to go through a tension-filled irascible relationship with his busy working daughter. Alternating between his loneliness and irregular bowel movements , Bhaskor Bannerjee  holds on to his daughter Piku for providing relief to his existence. In the process the otherwise charming daughter is driven to exasperation, frustration borne out of stress where the only topic of conversation between the father and daughter is often only about the color, shape & form of his excreta. It finally takes a third person, the owner of a taxi-stand  who drives them from Delhi to Kolkata , to bring some semblance in their relationship & empathy for the daughter's tribulations in the father.

The intimate scene that was left out
Undoubtedly, the director Shoojit Sarkar ,  covers a difficult topic in this 2 hour plus film and uses humor in the first half of the movie to build the plot, quite ably;  although due to the length of the film  certain situations appear contrived & irrelevant & to some extent boring in the period before the interval. Post-interval , however, the drama takes its own twists and turn as the car occupied by the cantankerous father ( played admirably by the only superstar of  Hindi  movies
Amitabh Bachhan)  and its hapless victims, travels along the National Highway to reach Piku's  ancestral house in Kolkata . Irfaan Khan  in his role of owner-cum-driver Rana Chowdhury, shows his rare theatrical overstatements during his few outbursts while Deepika Padukone  shows her charming histrionic traits in her  wide-eyed silent expressions of a hapless victim looking for the appropriate dose of empathy and understanding from the couldn't-care-less world outside of her family.
Its finally left to the penultimate scene, the death scene,  that lifts the movie from its average-comedy-drama status to an emotional relief, which is  metaphorically equitable to the gastrointestinal-relief relished by a constipated patient.
Anupam's Roy background music is excellent although the songs don't carry his trademark tune and are otherwise nice but not memorable. The cinematography , specially that of  streets & riverbanks of  Kolkata is often like a photo-feature (possibly for the viewing pleasures of non-Kolkata resident) and very ordinary.  Shoojit Sarkar gets plus marks for handling a difficult topic with relative ease although his script appears constipated , though humorous ,  through most of the duration excepting for the referred death scene where it takes on a lyrical dimension. Possibly, had the intimate scenes (see pic) between Rana Chowdhury & Piku not been censored out, the movie could have had a better lift towards greatness.
Overall, the movies is a must watch for viewers who'd like to see powerful actors, including the likes of Raghuvir Yadav & Jisshu Sengupta  jam in an unusual setting.

JAS Rating : 7 out of 10

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