We live in times where parking rates are catching up quickly with the price of movie tickets. 40 rupees per hour! This time around, I decided not to park inside Phoenix market city. Instead I searched for a silent road somewhere close to the mall so that I could save approximately 120 bucks. The movie ticket itself was 150 bucks! I was surprised to find another parking service close by where the rate was ¼ of that inside Phoenix. I gladly parked there and then walked into the theatre.
Bollywood movies these days either get too preachy or too silly for anybody to watch. Breaking this trend, Shoojit Sircar brings in a topic of everyday conversation; in this case – constipation; and blends it with humor and light hearted conversation between his characters. Even his earlier hit, Vicky donor dealt with a topic that many wouldn’t dare to discuss in public (I e sperm donation).
Piku (Deepika Padukone) is an unmarried working woman living with her old father Bhoskor Banerjee (Amitabh Bacchan) in Delhi. She has regular quarrels with her taxi driver because of her short tempered nature. Bhoskor is retired widower who constantly complains about his only health problem, i.e. constipation. He is paranoid about various diseases that are battled by people of his age though he is in perfect health (apart from his inefficient bowels) . His tantrums often embarrass his daughter at home as well as office.
In addition to this, he freely offers his opinions and theories to everyone in his family, especially Piku. His irritating diatribes are described as “brutally honest” remarks by him. In reality his over analysis drives people crazy (well beyond the fatigue point). Piku is often embarrassed in public gatherings whenever her dad mentions that she is not a virgin and doesn’t intend to marry in near future. Bhoskor is a progressive liberal, but also an intolerable ‘dick’. Even the housemaid is driven mad by his irritable attitude. She quits and offers to work only in Piku’s new house after she gets married !
Piku on has a consistent bad working relationship with her company cab service provider, Rana Choudhary (Irfann Khan) and all the drivers of his company who come to pick her up for work. She refuses to call a truce with Rana and his drivers in spite of their patience in the matter. Almost every driver ends up hitting/denting another vehicle on the road due to her demands for faster drive to office.
After a size-able dose of alcohol and lots dancing on one night, seventy year old Bhoskor faints. Piku takes an indefinite leave to take care of him. After recovering, Bhoskor is back with another tantrum, this time he wants to go back to his ancestral home in Kolkata by road. None of Rana’s drivers turn up for this assignment due to their bad experience with Piku. For them, such a long drive with Piku was a nightmare. Rana himself takes the assignment and the journey gives all of them an opportunity to contemplate about their lives. They debate independence of women, relevance of marriage and of course the subtleties regarding constipation during the journey. Bhoskor decrees that daily motions are intimately tied to human emotions and frustrations while Rana gives him tips to overcome his problem and succeeds in taming his outbursts whenever possible.
The journey brings out the love Piku has for her dad in spite of his tantrums. She confesses that it was her duty to take care of him no matter how fidgety and judgmental her dad is. It captures the relationship between old people and their children in a subtle manner. As Piku rightly mentions, they turn into kids and children will have to don the role of a parent.
The movie also deals with the relationship people have with their hometown/ city and the sentimental value attached to it. The way cities/towns change rapidly as if they are keeping pace with the changes in our own lives. However, we still manage to remember things and identify those changes in a nostalgic manner.
I don’t want to reveal the ending, though one could say that it doesn’t have a conclusive one like other Bollywood movies. One must congratulate Shoojit for ending the movie at the right juncture and not over doing anything.
The Bengali DNA of the characters is well captured through their ‘intellectual’ conversations. Their dressing habits are elegant yet not flashy. The background music adds to the necessary texture to the movie. The acting is almost spontaneous and consistent throughout. The highway , Varanasi and Kolkata have been captured well on camera. All in all, it is an elegant movie that leaves you with a pleasant feeling when you leave the theater.