Piku (2015)

After almost one week of its release, I finally got the chance to watch this delightful film. Out of all the movies I’ve watched in a theatre, this is the second movie, which I watched full-house, the first one being ‘PK’.

Going in to watch the film one hardly expects to be rewarded with warmth and genuine sweetness from a film about a irritable old man and his exasperated grown-up daughter who spend most of their time arguing about his bowel movements. But Piku, directed by Shoojit Sircar, is a charming, unpredictable comedy that – like Sircar’s Vicky Donor – mines humor from the unlikeliest of places.

Most of the dialouges in the entire film is all about shit – the color, texture, frequency, consistency. Potty is described as mango pulp. One morning, Bhashkor’s loyal server Budhan tells him: “hamara man kehta hai ek din aapko bada bhadiya pekhana hoga“.

Amitabh Bachchan is pretty terrific as Bhashkor, who reminds you of that oddball uncle that you nevertheless have a soft spot for. Bachchan embraces the character’s many idiosyncrasies, never once slipping into caricature while all along delivering big laughs thanks to his spot-on comic timing. Once again successful at proving that he may be old and ageing but we still have so much more to see from the veteran actor. As Baba, he is the most stubborn father you will come across. The actor gives the film the required élan that is probably inherent to him as an actor.

Also bringing his best game to the film is Irrfan Khan as Rana Chaudhary. I am not surprised at all at the brilliance of his act because I am aware that he is an actor of a great stature and post The Lunchbox,I bet none would doubt that. Amused by Bhashkor’s fixation on his tummy issues, Rana explains the merits of squatting on a Indian-style toilet, and in another hilarious scene draws out the entire digestive route of food for a fascinated Bhashkor.

Deepika Padukone is on a roll. With Piku she proves how easily she can sneak into a character that seems naturally her. Unembarrassed to admit she has sexual needs, unafraid to pursue a casual relationship with a colleague, and never shy of snapping back at her patience-testing father, Piku is a refreshing character in the movies, and Padukone plays her without a hint of artifice.

Moushumi Chatterjee is just her Bong self. Raghuveer Yadav plays the role of Dr. Srivastava who is seen in a small role yet noteworthy. Jisshu Sengupta plays Syed Afroze, again a small role yet quite satisfactory.

Into this richly layered script, Chaturvedi sneaks pertinent questions about ageing, the shifting dynamics of responsibility between parent and offspring, and the line between duty and sacrifice. The brilliant score by Anupam Roy adds emotional heft to the film. Sircar keeps a breezy, light-hearted tone throughout, infusing a hint of humor even in the decidedly emotional bits.

I am going with four out of five stars for Piku. Although dealing with a repugnant subject, the film offers a experience full of heart.