Piku is a Touching Story of Lonely, Independent, Working Girl with Light-hearted Script
I came across a few posts in the stream of my Facebook feeds that Piku is a sweet father-daughter relationship story, and Piku tells a story of road journey to Kolkata. I must correct them. Piku is neither a sweet relationship story nor absolutely a road movie. Piku is the story of a working girl torn between her unavoidable responsibility towards her retired father and her pent-up longing for some breaths of fresh air.
Deepika’s Piku is an independent working girl caged into a box of worries and cares for her eccentric, whimsical, obstinate father Bhaskor Banerjee. Amitabh Bachchan’s 70-year old Bhaskor Banerjee is a mental patient of constipation. He is not only stubborn but also selfish, which Piku too admits out of frustration, in the second half of the movie.
Amitabh’s character is a self-contradictory man whose actions are in contrast with his own theoretical philosophy.
He wanted his wife to be independent and did not like her being his caretaker. Surprisingly, he wants his independent daughter to stay with him and take care of him. He neither wants her to get married nor lets others talk about marriage to her. He believes that marriage is the bane of independence for girls and thinks that girls should have a purpose in their lives. Despite being such a modern thinker with a liberal attitude towards girls in general, he does not understand that his own daughter, who is his caretaker too, needs a break to breathe in freedom outside the four corners of day-to-day life.
It is because Bhaskor Banerjee does not know the basic difference between independence and freedom.
This is where he is mentally constipated. He is too modern to mind if Piku is virgin or not. The 70-year old widower is mature enough to understand that sex is a need of life. He does not mind talking about his daughter’s personal life and physical relationship to a stranger in a party. He thinks that people with low IQ (according to him) are illiterate and irritating. He gets into a tiff with maids over petty issues. He dominates Piku and wants others to dance to his tune.
Piku lives in a suitcase with such as hypochondriac old man, having no outlet to vent her frustration. She seems to be at peace with her life because she has accepted that her only responsibility is to take care of her father no matter how eccentric, stubborn, whimsical he is. When Bhaskor Bannerjee dances to amuse himself under the influence of alcohol, she smiles to see him and feels happy.
The movie has no single moment where he feels happy to see her smile, where he pats her, where he dotes on her, where he thinks of her life…
Not a single thought that if Piku is not married off, she will be left alone after his death, cuts across Bhaskor Banerjee’s constipated mind. He is over conscious of his health and concerned about how he will die, peacefully or painfully. He is more attached to his ancestral palatial house than he is fond of his daughter. Even when the father-daughter duo comes back to the ancestral house in Kolkata, they do not spend a single moment of nostalgia together. She goes out to see Kolkata along with Rana Choudhry played by Irfan Khan. Bhaskor Bannerjee peddles a bicycle alone on the streets of Kolkata on a fine morning.
Shoojit Sirkar’s Piku is not a sweet relationship story of the father-daughter duo. Piku is the story of a lonely, independent, working girl who shoulders her responsibility towards her father under all circumstances thinking that he has no one except her.
Such a touching story does not emotionally or sentimentally overwhelm the audience because of the light-hearted script with comic overtones.