The Grumpy Old Man
“When they reach 60, something happens to them ya!” my friend told me. How many of us can vouch for knowing a man who is old, unreasonable, stubborn, and delusional? I guess, all of us. But after watching Piku, I can say that, now I at least have an understanding of why they are like that.
What’s beautiful about the movie is its simplicity. I can probably sum up the story in a line or two. But that doesn’t take away from it in anyway. And the one of the biggest victories of Piku is that makes you feel for all the three central characters. You understand their vulnerabilities, insecurities, and eventually as to why they behave in a certain way. You somehow get them.
And what’s more fascinating is that you get perspective. To achieve that, not in one frame, does the film seem preachy. Bhaskor, written and acted brilliantly, is that grumpy old man I am referring to. But you never can possibly dislike him. Even when he introduces his daughter to be a non virgin to a prospective groom. And that’s what stuns me about this movie.
Why do I just understand him from frame one? Is it because I know people like him and can relate? No, I understand him because of Piku. She is not the television bahu type who cannot do anything wrong and inherently has respect for her elders. Nor is the type who will just leave their parents and have a life of their own. Most often, we are only shown these two extremes. What works here is Piku is somewhere in the middle, like most of us are.
Piku knows that her father is difficult. She knows she is tolerating him. But she also is guilty. She knows the inevitable is going to happen. But, in the constant grind of life she forgets it. And when something happens to him, she is upset and almost instantly soft on him. That makes her real and relatable.
And there is Rana, an outsider who almost forces himself to go a road trip with the father daughter duo. Aren’t we all like him? Sometimes, we know the consequences of a decision we take. We are fully aware of what’s going to happen. But we still make that decision, sometimes, just for the fun of it. Or maybe to see if it doesn’t turn out the way we imagined it to be.
Rana is quite simply the perfect outsider. He has thousand problems of his own. He doesn’t probably know how to solve them. But he just understands Piku. He tries to make her life easier. He takes charge when it’s necessary. Sometimes, we are so much better solving other people’s problems. Aren’t we?
Also, I like the subtlety of Rana and Piku’s relationship. How they know they need each other but never confess it. How there is no romance per say but still there is lot of understanding and respect.
But nothing can possibly prepare you for the toilet humour in it. It’s very gross at some places. It may put off some people. I personally didn’t like it either. I was wondering if the writers could come up with something else, would it have been the same movie? I am sure it would have been, because the soul of this movie lies in its characters.
Overall, Piku is like a good book. You can savor and ponder about it even after watching it and it never will leave you.