Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan’s ‘Piku’ review: has delightful laugh-out-loud moments

'Piku' movie review: Big B, Deepika and Irrfan's movie sparks in moments. But the rest of it stays only mildly amusing.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Updated: May 11, 2015 9:42 am
piku review, piku movie review, piku review deepika, deepika padukone, amitabh bachchan, irrfan khan, deepika padukone piku, deepika padukone piku review, amitabh bachchan piku, piku movie irrfan khan, piku release review, deepika piku review, piku news Piku movie review: The only one given enough wiggle-room is Irrfan, and he makes the most of it, shifting, manoeuvring skillfully, not letting himself be caught in one position.

What goes in one end, comes out the other. Any mention of human excretion usually elicits an ewwwu of disgust. Polite society demands euphemisms, especially when it is about adults and their digestive tract functions.

But as is universally known and acknowledged, the exception to this rule is reserved for Bengalis, in whose households conversation about ablutions is conducted in excruciating detail—did it happen, the quantum, the quality, the colour, is all up for animated discussion, and everyone at the dining table or the drawing room will nod sagely and jump in with their two bits of advise.

Shoojit Sircar had gone full frontal in ‘Vicky Donor’, using wiggly sperm to tell a heart-warming tale. Here he switches his attention to, as they say, the backside. In other words, shit, which usually gets shoveled out of view, never to be mentioned again. Not in ‘Piku’. Emphatically, vocally not. Shoojit Sircar’s lead character lets you know loudly and clearly where he is at, before flushing the evidence noisily down the Delhi-Kolkata toilets he inhabits: the crusty Bhashkor (Amitabh Bachchan) will remind you of your dyspeptic uncle whose life revolves around his `motions’, and his `peti’ of homeopathic pills which is lugged wherever he goes.

‘Piku’ (Deepika Padukone) is Bhashkor’s harried daughter, trying to hack a professional and personal life while trying to minister to her demanding father. The younger men in her life, old-friend-with-feelings (Jisshu Sengupta) and reluctant-but-intrigued newer entrant (Irrfan) try and divert her attention, but everything comes up against: Did Baba go? When did Baba go? How did Baba go?

Sircar knows his setting well. The free-for-all chatter around the stomach, the kind of herbs that help stuff along the alimentary canal – the best moment of the film comes when Irrfan draws a sketch, with graphic accuracy, of the route food takes before it plops out—is spot on. The way the characters are bracketed, though, flattens the film.

Of course, there are delightful laugh-out-loud moments too, the kind that lift ‘Piku’ off the screen. Some of those come from the interaction between ‘baap’ Bachchan and ‘beti’ Padukone, but soon they settle into a pattern where the irritability and annoyance and short-temper Bhashkor and Piku have to exhibit become rate limiting factors: how many squabbles about a constantly-calling-baba and a beti constantly-on-call can you infuse with difference? I got a little exhausted by the jabber: when they stop and fall silent, the point is made better.

Amitabh Bachchan’s delivery of his constipated Bengali bhadralok jumps between a couple of notes, his accent occasionally slipping. And because most of Deepika Padukone’s scenes are with him, she comes off same-same too, though you can see how she can use her coltish beauty to advantage when she is let alone. Even Moushumi Chatterjee, as the gadabout ‘mashi’, isn’t as much fun as she could have been. Raghubir Yadav, as the old-confidante-doctor is good, though, as is Sengupta.

The only one given enough wiggle-room is Irrfan, and he makes the most of it, shifting, manoeuvring skillfully, not letting himself be caught in one position. He is the outsider to Piku’s world, and how he enters and makes space for himself, lets the film breathe and come alive.

Shoojit Sircar’s exploration of human relationships through unusual pegs provides his films an instant hook. And focusing upon bowel movements is certainly novel. ‘Piku’ sparks in moments, and I threw my head back and guffawed in a few. But the rest of it stays only mildly amusing. I wanted more motion in these motions.

Star cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan, Deepika Padukone, Jisshu Sengupta, Moushumi Chatterjee, Raghuvir Yadav
Director : Shoojit Sircar

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    Abhijit Joshi
    May 17, 2015 at 6:58 pm
    Spot on, like always. For you Shubhra. I too expected much after people went gaga over the movie. Frankly speaking, a few flaws here and there. As you rightly pointed out, Bachchan sahab's accent slips ( once I thought almost awadhi creeoed in). Second in script- why are they going to kolkatta if nobody is selling the ancestral house? Agreed, Piku was thinking yet to carry out such an exhausting trip you need strong motive. Again as you wrote, Irrfan is thoroughly great. In fact, perfect casting. All marks to Shoojit Sircar for that. Deepika, I found slightly loud at times. 'Baba' is good. ( I felt his size of stomach kept changing- maybe it is because it depends on motion:-) - Abhijit
    Reply
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      Asmita Gholkar
      May 8, 2015 at 8:30 pm
      Shubra Gupta r you out of ur mind? What a shame? U couldn't understand beautiful emotions.... U r so emotionally dead...what a bakwas review.... Its the best movie,best direction, best moments....
      Reply
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        ATUL
        May 8, 2015 at 1:20 pm
        till date i am unable to understand what kind of movies are gud as per shubra gupta.. normal person can never understand her reviews.. wht she want to exactly tell.. huffff impossible to understand..
        Reply
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          Austin Mathew
          May 8, 2015 at 10:32 pm
          The movie was emotionally good. At some point I started feeling that they extended it TOO much. It was a good one, but it could've been better if it had more characters with different twists. In short, it was something different. Sir Amitabh Bachchan did a wonderful work. Sir Irffan Khan is always good at acting. Deepika Padukone also did a wonderful work, in fact she is good at being angry & frustrated.
          Reply
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            Biswajeet Banerjee
            May 9, 2015 at 7:39 am
            Movie is good Review is bakwas But she is journalist Who can write anything And always remain on the right side.
            Reply
            1. R
              Ram Singh Sachan
              May 10, 2015 at 1:09 pm
              The review is PIKU and, worst still, I'm going to watch the movie today.May be we get better ideas to handle the PIKUs so abundant in the country!
              Reply
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                Amit Kumar
                May 10, 2015 at 8:06 am
                HEADACHE MOVIE ! Watch it if you want to do a thesis on "pakhana ie. latring ", whether it is peela,kaal, patla, mota,kada,paani. " 2hrs of PAKHANA THESIS OF AMITABH BACHAN" , BAKWAAS MOVIE !
                Reply
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                  Girish
                  May 8, 2015 at 12:01 pm
                  oh come on! what's with the snootiness? don't watch em if you're gonna diss them. cinegoers read reviews to know why they should watch a movie, not what all the reviewer finds wrong in it.
                  Reply
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                    Niranjan
                    May 9, 2015 at 3:43 pm
                    Ms. Gupta at it again with her "high" standards. About time you changed reviewers. Reading her reviews is like reading a listing of every little fault imaginable and how it detracted from her enjoyment. There is no pleasing her. Such folks should be called Review Snobs.
                    Reply
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                      Niranjan
                      May 13, 2015 at 8:38 pm
                      Too baaad Shubhra it didn't meet your high standards. All of my friends and family have given it a ringing YESS! and I am going. Will let you know if there were any fleeting moments of improper pronunciation or fluttering eyelids which you would consider unnecessary.
                      Reply
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                        ashok
                        May 11, 2015 at 1:17 am
                        Yuck !
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                          Mahesh Rohira
                          May 9, 2015 at 4:50 am
                          I saw the movie last night and really enjo it. Your review is just exhibition of your language skills. The w cinema hall was in laughter. Also, there is message beyond the idea "constipation" which I think you failed to understand. The comic timing of even the small characters was excellent.
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            SV Prasad
                            May 12, 2015 at 7:28 am
                            Shubra, I'm afraid that you have got this wrong. And I'm not even talking about the terrific audience response in India & abroad. Though in this case, it's telling as its clearly a more discerning audience. Even if Shubra were to consider other critics' essment & rating of this film, she has clearly got it wrong. I respect & look forward to Shubra's reviews. Off late, she has not been getting it right. And its at least my distinct impression!
                            Reply
                            1. K
                              Kals
                              May 8, 2015 at 8:19 pm
                              I think the author is a person who thinks only Hollywood movies are good. Bollywood is in an experimental stage which needs to be appreciated and we need to be happy that there are people like Sarcar in the land of Sajids and Farahs who are willing to explore beyond the tested genres
                              Reply
                              1. R
                                Raj
                                May 9, 2015 at 11:32 am
                                I think my English is OK and I am fairly intelligent person, and I did not understand this review at all. Indian Express should have some standards for who is writing the reviews. There has to be some format, and flow and simple review. This was almost like the reviewer does not like Bengali's, the director and any of the actors. And as if the reviewer has something personal against them. Sad review
                                Reply
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                                  riddhi
                                  May 8, 2015 at 10:55 pm
                                  I can't understand her heavy English ? Is she from india?
                                  Reply
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                                    basant sahu
                                    May 9, 2015 at 9:20 am
                                    Good
                                    Reply
                                    1. S
                                      Sashank Kini
                                      May 8, 2015 at 11:45 pm
                                      Have you read the review, ?
                                      Reply
                                      1. S
                                        Seema
                                        May 9, 2015 at 11:22 am
                                        This woman has taken her job too seriously and literally so.she thinks she is only supposed to criticize since she is called a critic.get a life lady.did you even watch the movie????
                                        Reply
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                                          Rahul
                                          May 11, 2015 at 12:32 pm
                                          You should watch more of "happy new year" kinda movies..good for your health
                                          Reply
                                          1. S
                                            Shiv Bajaj
                                            May 9, 2015 at 12:36 am
                                            Deepika rocks
                                            Reply
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