Bengalis or West Bengal is not only about rasagolla and mishti doi or Howrah Bridge for that matter. It is also about cycling around on a busy street or having an oil soaked luchi-torkari breakfast
Piku celebrates that reality and also brings forth the community's genuine nuances. I am in a celebratory mood after watching Piku because Shoojit Sircar not only highlighted their demeanour and strong personality but also their shortcomings. Let me tell you how.
What's it about?
Piku is a story of a highly educated architect played by Deepika Padukone whose life is centered more around her father Bhaskar Banerjee (Amitabh Bachchan) than her own life and ambitions. Bhaskar suffers from constipation which is more in his head than in his body. He drives Piku mad with all his bodily concerns. A frustrated Piku vents out all her anger on the driver of the taxi which takes her to and fro her office hired by the company. Resultant? Every day the taxi reaches its spot badly destroyed. The taxi rental service is manned by Rana Chaudhury (Irrfan Khan) who tries to make Piku understand the ills of rushing his driver but she is determined. None of the drivers agree to take them to Kolkata next when Bhaskar decides to go to his ancestral home after a life-threatening medical situation. Rana is forced to take them to Kolkata by road since Bhaskar insists he wouldn't go by train or plane. Thus begins a journey of self-discovery, subtle love and ah yes... emotion behind this motion!
Juhi Chaturvedi has managed yet again to come up with a tight script that never loses its plot. It has always been a story about constipation and bowels and she keeps the ball rolling till the end. The punches are hilarious and uncannily relatable. Deepika perhaps have landed the best role of her career with this film. Sircar really knows how to look for a gem and polish it. Her casual appeal is extremely likable. She spoke sporadically in Bengali, which sounded little rehearsed but was effective. Amitabh Bachchan mirrors every Bengali who has a pretty weird way of talking in Hindi. It's Hindi with Bengali twang which sounds fabulously funny because it's a fact. Irrfan Khan is wonderful and his subtle chemistry with Deepika wets your heart. Gestures are the biggest tool of conversation in this film. Follow them and you will love it all! What I liked the most is the relatable nuances that a Bengali will identify more with. Say, for example, the sudden excitement of finding a Bengali in a place far away from West Bengal. So when Amitabh Bachchan lights up at the mention of the name Rana Chaudhury (the surname is common in Bengalis as well), you know it's all true. We have an incessant urge to connect with a person instantly and if you are a bong, hallelujah!!! There are more such small instances which will crack you up! Also, throughout the film Bachchan batted for his independent daughter. He even rebuffs his dead wife for giving up everything after marriage for her husband and child calling all such women doing so low IQ people! And guess what? Bongs believe it to the core!
Shoojit Sircar's biggest test here will be to please the non-Bengalis. Why so because these small instances mentioned above will only be understood by those who belong to that community or know someone very closely from the community. Otherwise, the puns will fall flat. That's where lies the biggest flaw of the film. The recurrent conversations on bowel movements might overwhelm a few people. It is a fact that there are a few Bengalis obsessed with it but for everyone it might be too difficult digest. The characters speak a lot in English. Many might find it jarring, but the fact of the matter is Bengalis take pride in conversing in English at home. That's ingrained in us!
What to do
Bengali or not, Piku is a mass family entertainer. This weekend, it will be a mistake not to catch up with her and her Baba's shitty problems. It is a film that will leave you with tears in your eyes and smile on your lips towards the end.
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