Though unsavoury, there is something about pee and poo that makes us laugh. After Nitin Gadkari's revelation of using pee to nurture plants created mirth on Twitter, Shoojit Sircar uses poo to evoke laughter in Piku. Much like Vicky Donor, Shoojit exploits bodily secretions to take us on a journey of unsaid love between stuck-up characters.
When I saw Piku's trailer where an unkempt Amitabh Bachchan frets about emotion being linked to motion, I wasn't actually enticed. I mean, who wants to watch a movie sans breathtaking scenery, melodious songs and a charming hero? Regardless, I ventured into the cinema hall without any expectations.
Watching Piku is akin to relishing homemade daal chawal sprinkled with desi ghee and spiced with fresh coriander chutney. One bite and it reminds you of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's movies where the ride was more enjoyable than the destination. In Piku, Shoojit maps Bengali idiosyncrasies with such love that he continues to play with his characters without wanting to go anywhere.
Far away from item songs and glossy locales, the director creates riveting drama between a hypochondriac father and his irritable daughter played by Deepika Padukone. To me, Deepika hasn't looked prettier even though she is neither wearing makeup nor navel revealing saris. Although she sounds a jarring note by screaming a notch higher than was actually required. But that is perhaps because I am sensitive to people who speak loudly. Surprisingly, Deepika emotes to match up to the formidable duo of Amitabh and Irrfan Khan. And her love for her father is to be judged by her actions and not her words. On a personal level, I could see myself in Deepika and my mother in Amitabh.
In Piku, Amitabh is a tour de force. Except on occasions when his Bengali gets mixed with his inherent UP accent, Amitabh as Bhaskor Bannerjee is a selfish, irritating yet endearing old man. Eventually it is his acting that makes this movie worthwhile.
Somehow, I believed that Irrfan Khan was an overrated actor. But he proved me wrong in Piku. Who wants six packs or dimpled cheeks when one can emote with eyes? Brilliant, he is. The fact that Irrfan Khan is not Salman Khan adds to the charm.
Any movie devoid of a great story has to be about magical moments. Piku is sprinkled with many such mundane yet magical moments. Like when Moushmi talks about not wearing a bra inside a nightie, when Amitabh gets drunk or when Irrfan comes up with ingenious solutions for Amitabh's recurrent constipation.
The script by Juhi Chaturvedi is ahead of its times. I don't remember any Indian father introducing his daughter as financially and sexually independent (strictly need based). Moreover, Amitabh's progressive views about women albeit twisted according to his own quirky personality are refreshing.
If movies about small moments intrigue you, go for it. This is not to say that Piku is flawless because after a point it becomes more of the same. Piku is perhaps not for teenagers because the sixteen year old next to me was busy playing games on his mobile while his dad guffawed and his mother quietly wiped her moist eyes.