FILM Piku Mainstreaming Everyday Life.
In an age when people choose individualism over family bonds, Shoojit Sircar attempts to tell a story long forgotten. No one vouches for domesticity. And yet, that is exactly what Piku is all about. It's a story of a modern woman, who's not into ambition, social media or friends. Her focus is her father. It's a long lost thought. And yet, in a brave and poignant choice, a filmmaker is trying to recreate this old school concept.
It is the story of an average girl in a big city. Only, this remarkably familiar character is not vying for top professional honours or pining for the affections of a man. Rather, her day starts and ends with the whims and fancies of her eccentric father. As a result, the rest of her life, which includes her most modest aspirations and desires, takes a back seat. There is an underlying sense of frustration, but even that is so subtle you'll barely notice.
Perfectly nuanced is the operative idiom. The way Piku discovers her own feelings and of those around her in the most understated manner is what makes the film so endearing. Even when the unlikely romance between Irrfan and Deepika Padukone comes into the picture, it maintains a delicate craftiness. It is pure pleasure to watch such sublime cinema.
Piku is a well-made, well written and emotionally adept film. The crux of the movie is the interpersonal relationships between its characters. The duo of Piku and her father Bhaskar (semantically correct Bhaskor) stand out. They're weird but totally relatable and charming. Their chemistry fuels the actual drama in the movie. The odd but cute romance between Piku and Rana spices things up but not in the traditional sense. Their's is more like an everyday affair. It's hardly dramatic but very likeable and natural. And then you have the energetic Piku's aunt. Every character feels like a person you've known.
One of the most obvious features of Piku is its talent on display. The cast includes Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan, Deepika Padukone, Jisshu Sengupta and Moushumi Chatterjee. Performances by every member are sufficiently up to the mark. But at the end of the day, the entire process of telling the story comes down to subtlety. None of the actors play it out loud. Instead, you have deft moments where mere expressions and silences convey so much. Deepika's performance in particular hits the right notes, tones and melodies. She's the anchor of the film. Irrfan gives a perfectly nuanced act, the highlight of which is his charming way with witty dialogue. Bachchan's impressive performance drives both Deepika and Irrfan to up their game. His portrayal of a peculiar old man is high on humour and drama. The impromptu singing, the awkward dancing and the senile behaviour make his performance flawless and fun.
Piku is Shoojit Sircar's film. It's his way of celebrating forgotten cinema by Bengali greats. Whether it's the music of Anupam Roy, the crisp editing or even the artistic frames captured by the cinematographer, the film openly harks back to the good old days of Satyajit Ray and Bimal Roy. It takes the most ordinary situations from daily life and churns out the kind of drama that's missing from modern mainstream cinema.