11 May, 2015

Piku : This Sircar Delivers

The Bengalis are back into Hindi Cinema and how? Dibakar Bannerjee had his Byomkesh Bakshi and now Shoojit Sircar releases Piku...the year couldn't have begun on a better note.

When one looks at Narendra Modi, a closer observation shows him up more like the Prime Minister of Gujarat than the Prime minister of India. Similarly the Hindi film industry had started looking more and more like an extension of Punjabi Cinema.  Now, I have nothing against the Punjabi language and culture, it’s great on its own but how much of Balle Balle and Shawa Shawa can one take? The way ahead had to be variety and not some one insisting "That's the way...Mahi ve". 

Shoojit Sircar has scored a hat trick. After his superb Vicky Donor and Madras Cafe, one had raised expectations of him in his next offering; a director who ideally married the art of telling a simple story simply into a commercial format and one who sated the sensibility of both the critic and the front benches. It is a huge ask. Very few film makers have managed to walk this golden mean...Sujoy Ghosh with his Kahani, Zoya Akhtar with her Zindagi Na Mile Dobara, Anurag Basu’s Barfi , Sircars own Yahaan, Vicky Donor and Madras Cafe, Sriram Raghavan with his Johnny Gaddar, Ek Hasina Thhi and Badlapur and the champion of them all Raj Kumar Hirani with all his films. Anurag Kashyap is another maverick but like his mentor Ram Gopal Verma quite inconsistent. Now you can see the dilemma that when one can capture all of such Hindi Cinema inside of one paragraph we have a crisis on hands. With Salman gone for a while the hundreds of crores shall come from Aamir, Shahrukh, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgan...commerce never had a worry, sense had. The tragedy of Hindi cinema is that the industry has far smarter individuals than the products they dish out ; Dumbing down a product has become the default norm. 

Piku : The Movie

Not so with Piku, here Sircar takes us into the life of Piku and Bhaskar Bannerjee, a dysfunctional father-daughter pair. The father is an eccentric, constipated widower who has a penchant for linking every issue in the world with this particular bodily anomaly of his. 

Amitabh Bacchhan as Bhaskar Bannerjee shines after a long time in a role that he seems to have thoroughly enjoyed playing. 

Piku his daughter, is a smart young woman of the world who is in charge of their lives, completely submerged in the task of managing her own work, and a domestic life kept interestingly complicated by her eccentric father. Theirs is an interaction that is a delight to watch. Deepika Padukone has come into her own in selecting the right kind of cinema , one that raises her own bar of performance in the company of a vintage Bacchhan and the super savvy Irfaan Khan. 

Their lives are made fuller by the presence of her maternal aunt , Moushumi Chatterjee - superb, Raghubir Yadav extremely able as the family doctor and friend  & Jishu Sengupta as her working partner - credible . Into this life crashes Rana Chowdhary ( not a Bengali announces Bhaskar Bannerjee with the same dry cheekiness that he introduces his daughter Piku, not a virgin ) and thereon begins a journey from Delhi to Kolkata. In the simplicity of this story lies its elegance. Anupam Roy’s lyrics and music fits into and enhances the tapestry of the fabric of the film with gentle notes. The songs remain in the background but are profound.

"Dheere chalna hai mushkil, 
to jaldi hi sahi,
Aankho ke kinaro me 
bahane hi sahi
Hum chalein baharon mein, 
gungunaati raaho mein,

Khwahishein Anjaan hai, 
ab kya karein
Shabdo ke pahado pe 
likhi hai dastaan,
Khwabon ke lifaafo me, 
chhupaa hai raasta
Hum chalein baharon mein,
gungunaati raaho mein,
Dhadkanein bhi tez hai ab kya karein"

Piku is genteel cinema for the refined sensibility. The toilet humour just remains as the spice on the side while the characters grow on you in their journey. It is a charming little film and is a must watch for all. Amitabh is splendid but it is Deepika who holds the eyeballs every single time she is on screen. She delivers an absolutely riveting performance.  This is like driving all the way to Gariahat from Howrah to eat the fare at Bhojohori Manna...the experience is exactly the same, Sublime.