Piku (2015): More than words

Life’s in the waiting. I love how real this is.

92. Piku (2015) —  I have not laughed so hard and so honestly at the movies for a long time. Enough said? How about Irrfan Khan, who can do no wrong in my books, being delightfully dry (love that white shirt, khaki trousers and brown bomber jacket outfit); Deepika Padukone acting her socks off (wow); and Amitabh Bachchan genuinely impressing me for what feels like the first time? More than all that, I found a lot of pleasure from the whole supporting cast, the thoughtful plot and pacing (took a bit longer than I expected to get to the road trip!), and every set-up of the mise en scène (though the actual scenery during the drive was a little disappointing — India has more to offer!). Go watch the movie!

Ah, what a sea change has happened since I started watching Hindi movies. SRK didn’t kiss women-who-were-not-his-wife on the lips. Virginity ended only at marriage. Elders were always right. Now we live in a world where SRK has broken that taboo (with an actress a bewildering fraction of his age), and here we have a film that flouts the second assumption with aplomb, and the third with a remarkable frankness and even a joyful resignation. The father is painted as a progressive, but can’t avoid the charge of selfishness; the daughter is sketched as a shrew, but can’t escape notice as a dutiful daughter. The driver is depicted as being somewhat disagreeable, but can’t hide the growing hold that the wacky family has on him. All I can say is — I’m not always comfortable with it, but I’m glad for filmmakers willing to tell the truth about life.

Anyway, I’m still not sure what Piku means in Hindi (Sayesha says it’s just a nickname), but for my non-Chinese-speaking friends — it’s the hanyu pinyin for backside. There’s life again for you, with its delicious irony. Go watch the movie.


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