Shoojit Sircar’s Piku | Bongs in Delhi

Piku
Image Courtesy: Shoojit Sircar, his photographer and the internet.

I have never been to Delhi, but thanks to Dibakar Banerjee and a few other film makers like Maneesh Sharma and Habib Fasal, I was able to get a slice of Delhi. Through the charming Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, the comical Khosla Ka Ghosla, the shuddh desi Band Baja Baarat, etc. Or at least that’s what I thought until I saw Shoojit Sircar’s Piku.

We all have preconceived notions about how Bengalis should be portrayed in the movies. Forget Bengalis. We have strict ‘code of conduct’ for everyone…from Mumbaikars, Tamilians, Kannadigas, Malayalees, ‘North Indians’ (I don’t know where exactly north starts), Gujaratis, the much abused Punjabis to people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

We almost expect a Durga Pujo (spelled Peugeot) scene or an aarti scene in a Bollywood movie telling the story of Bengalis. The Howrah Bridge, the trams and the yellow Ambassador taxis jostling in chaotic Kolkata traffic…Even the best of the movies from the Bollywood stables have been guilty of giving in to these cliches. Of course, it’s a mouth-watering prospect for the distributors if the movie ticks all the right boxes in terms of their notion of what the content should be.

Going by some reliable review sources, I thought Piku would be a cute movie, but nothing prepared me for the delightful experience.

For once, here is a movie that literally ‘smells’ of domesticity. The movie starts with a couple of establishing interior shots with Amitabh and Deepika. I don’t know how the director does it, he sucks us right into the movie and we happily give in to the magic! 🙂

It’s a nice little story with everyday domestic situations with very less in the way of cliches. Amitabh is a delight in the movie. The character is extremely complex. He is selfish, liberal, caring, impossible, attention seeking, rude, irritating, delightful…all at once. When most of the directors, who are fanboys of the Senior Bachchan, asks him to do a movie, their creativity goes for a toss and hero worship takes over. I think Shoojit Sircar belongs to that rare breed of filmmakers who are not overawed by Amitabh’s stardom. This could be one of the best roles he has done in a really long time!

Talking about Deepika, she has come a long way from Om Shanti Om. Probably we need to thank filmmakers like Homi Adajania who cast her in Cocktail and Finding Fanny for getting her out of those glam babe roles and helping her find her true potential as an actress. The whole film sits on Deepika’s slim shoulders and yet she doesn’t flinch even once. I would certainly like to see more of Ms. Deepika in the future. I am sure the scriptwriters will take notice and give her some really good author-backed roles to sink her teeth into. 🙂

Irfan Khan walks away with much adulation and acclaim for the portrayal of an extremely grounded Delhiite who’s not from Delhi! A nagging mother and a sister apart, he is logical, responsible, caring and most importantly sorted in his outlook towards life. It’s difficult to imagine anybody else in this role. I don’t know if Sircar along with the scriptwriter Juhi Chaturvedi developed Irfan’s character as a deus ex machina because there’s no deliberate attempt to showcase the interaction between Deepika and Irfan in that light. In fact, there is no deliberate attempt to force the directors view in the entire running time of the movie, and that’s an achievement.

All Sircar does is tell a beautiful story in all its honesty. By beautiful, I mean it’s really beautiful because the portrayal of relationships is just so unBollywood like and smooth. Even melodrama takes a back seat, and there are no playing-to-the-gallery moments. I am sure Sircar was able to make the movie he wanted to without any compromises. So Kudos to the studio and his guts!

Sircar’s Vicky Donor was a testosterone-filled ride in a different sense of the expression! Madras Cafe gave us a different perspective of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. Piku is a different way of looking at how Toyota Innova can be used for really long drives….No I am just kidding! Piku is all about Bongs in Delhi! 🙂

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