STORY: Piku’s father Bhaskor’s obsessed with his health. Piku indulges Bhaskor’s wishes, including a road trip to Calcutta – but what does attractive Rana’s driving set in motion?
REVIEW: Straight up, Piku is delightful, a cinematic rasgulla, dipped in the sweet, dark rum of life. Architect Piku Banerjee (Deepika) is only child to 70-year-old Bhaskor (Amitabh) who obsesses about his health -including creating commotion around his stomach’s motion. Piku’s torn between tenderness for her elderly dad and frustration at being stuck in a rut. Suddenly, Bhaskor wants to visit Calcutta – but insists on travelling from Delhi via road. What happens when intriguing Rana (Irrfan) drives them?
Piku’s performances are superb, topped by one of Amitabh Bachchan’s best acts. Amitabh is mesmerizing as Bhaskor, a man who delights in being “brutal and honest”, but whose eyes are soft as marshmallows when he looks at his daughter.
Bubbling with life, pouring with over-protectiveness, Amitabh runs away with the film, travelling with a
‘commode chair’, stating Indian men want wives only “to sarve food in the day, sex in the night”, interrogating Rana, “Drinking? Driving? Sipping? Taar pore, dhadaam?”, telling his bubbly sister-in-law Chobi
(Moushumi, lovely and bright), “Tumko like na karne ka, mere paas hai, hai, reason hai.” From Angry Young Man to eccentric old gent, Piku is another milestone in this amazing actor’s journey.
Alongside, Irrfan’s Rana has a wide-eyed, raised-eyebrow sexiness, but also sensitive balance between being annoyed and intrigued by Piku – and her mad dad. Deepika presents an evolved, polished performance, utterly believable as Piku uptight with pursed lips, whose life expands from reading her dad’s BP – to reading Rana’s eyes.
Piku’s story is stunning. It beautifully explores the most basic bond of life – a parent, a child, a beginning and an end. It looks shyly at love. It smiles tenderly at Bengali flavours, at fish fry and digestion pills, but also at universal stories, of irritating relatives and domestics who look after us until we die.
The direction’s brilliant. Deft, yet deep, Shoojit Sircar 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.