While Piku’s trailer had not quite tickled one’s fancy, high hopes were resting on Shoojit Sircar (Vicky Donor, Madras Café) making a film about the cranky old timer Bhaskor Banarji (Amitabh Bachchan) and his distraught 30-something daughter Piku (Deepika Padukone).

The movie creates an atmosphere where it feels like one is taking a peek into an everyday household with a septuagenarian having bowel issues constantly engaging in a verbal combat with his 30-year-old daughter.

The latter consumed so much by her father’s nagging that she has hardly any energy left to concentrate on her own life and goals.

Rana Chaudhry’s (Irrfan Khan) parallel story has almost the same flavor: he lives with his loud, pesky mother and a sister who is about to get divorced after getting caught stealing her mother-in-law’s gold ring to gift to her own mum. Rana runs his father’s rent-a-cab company and Piku is one of his most valued customers.


In a gloomy year when Bollywood is releasing films like Ek Paheli Leela and Mr. X, a grumpy old man with constipation issues somehow does not seem to be such a bad topic for a movie


When Mr. Banarji convinces his daughter to go with him to their family home in Kolkata, Rana somehow gets caught in between their plans and has to embark with them on the 48-hour road trip as their driver. Ultimately, he blends in and becomes an integral part of the adventure.

Initially, Amitabh’s Mr. Banarji reminds us of Paresh Rawal in 2010’s Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? The only thing that takes something away is Amitji’s imperfection in pulling off a proper Bengali accent at times. Glamorous or sedate, Deepika is brilliant and her expressions hardly require any accompanying dialogue while Irrfan Khan’s coarse humour makes Piku even more special.

With actors such as these, you would expect the director to lie back and relax, but credit goes to Shoojit Sircar for walking the tightrope between a rom-com and Baghban with remarkable ease. Be it the quiet romance between the two young characters or emotionally-charged scenes towards the end, nothing is blown out of proportion which, if truth be told, is not easy in Bollywood.

Another refreshing thing about Piku is the absence of dance (read: item) numbers. The songs remain light and breezy while providing background ambience. On a scale of one to five, Piku would definitely score a four.

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, May 17th, 2015

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