By Narjis Fatema
For Bhashkor Banerjee (Amitabh Bachan), life revolves around his bowel syndrome. For his friends, it is just an old man’s attention seeking habit. For the audience, it is the punch line of the movie. But for Piku (Deepika Padukone), his daughter and single woman who co-partners an architectural designing firm, it define her life—stuck in the intestines of a child-parent relationship.
A single child with a dead mother, Piku is left with her 70 year old father, who thinks getting married is not for tough women like her daughter. Frustration and desperation has made her gruff—a typical SWOT attribute—and has gotten her an infamous reputation with the cab service she uses to commute to work. For them she is an aggressive cold woman.
The film uses humour to deal with a difficult topic of how sometimes parents emotionally abuse their children for essentially selfish motives. Piku has to sacrifice her wishes at each step, from something as routine as driving a car to the ultimate dream of any young woman; getting married.
Unlike the common theme of children abandoning parents in old age, this one depicts the flip side, where a young, beautiful, successful woman abandons her future and her desires, to take care of her old father. She knows that her father is being selfish, and she definitely voices her dissatisfaction and disapproval of her father’s actions, but she still loves him and makes a conscious decision to stick with him for as long as it will take.
Banerjee decides to visit his ancestral home and Rana Choudhary (Irrfan Khan), the owner of the cab service has to drive Piku and her father from Delhi to Kolkata, because none of his drivers is ready to go on such a long trip with Piku. This is where the constipation starts transforming into motion- not the Newton one.
Using the very youthful plot of a road trip, the movie gives Piku a chance to be understood. Rana, himself from a dysfunctional family of a widowed mother and separated sister with a child, is also in his thirties and unmarried.
This movie is all about normal families (not the utopian idea of Hum Saath Saath Hain type films), that argue, shout and blame each other for life’s troubles. But not even for a spec of a second does it make you feel depressed or anxious. Woven in its thread of toilet humour, the story sends out a message that stay put and life will start flowing again.
Also, though the film revolves around a young, beautiful female (Deepika), and has a love interest too, yet has no revealing clothing and no kissing scenes, typical of Bollywood cinema these day. Based on true middle class life style, you see Piku dressed in palazzos and kurtis, sometimes even wrapping herself in a shawl. The movie totally nullifies the argument that latest trend of item numbers and glamorous, skin showing outfits are a public demand.
Piku is a light movie filled with powerful messages. Do watch with family and friends. It is a total Paisa Wasool.
The writer is a communications specialist.