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Piku

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Piku
Theatrical release poster
Directed byShoojit Sircar
Written byJuhi Chaturvedi
Produced by
  • N.P. Singh
  • Ronnie Lahiri
  • Sneha Rajani
Starring
CinematographyKamaljeet Negi
Edited byChandrashekhar Prajapati
Music byAnupam Roy
Production
companies
Distributed byYash Raj Films
Release date
  • 8 May 2015 (2015-05-08) (India)
Running time
122 minutes[1]
CountryIndia
LanguageHindi
Budget42 crore
(US$5.3 million)[2]
Box office141 crore (US$17 million)[2]

Piku is a 2015 Indian Hindi-language comedy drama film directed by Shoojit Sircar and produced by N. P. Singh, Ronnie Lahiri and Sneha Rajani. The film stars Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and Irrfan Khan in titular roles, while Moushumi Chatterjee and Jisshu Sengupta appear in pivotal roles. The script was written by Juhi Chaturvedi and Anupam Roy composed the music and wrote the lyrics. Principal photography began in August 2014 and was wrapped up in December.[3]

The film garnered critical acclaim, with praise for its screenplay, humour and overall simplicity, and particular praise directed towards Padukone, Bachchan and Khan's performances.[4] It also emerged as a commercial success worldwide. Made on a budget of 42 crore (equivalent to 63 crore or US$7.6 million in 2023), Piku earned 141 crore (equivalent to 213 crore or US$25 million in 2023) worldwide.[2]

At the 61st Filmfare Awards, Piku received 8 nominations, including Best Film, Best Director (Sircar), and Best Actor (Bachchan) and won 5 awards, including Best Actress (Padukone). Bachchan won his record-setting fourth National Film Award for Best Actor at the 63rd National Film Awards and his record-setting third Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Critics) for his performance in the film.

Plot[edit]

Piku Banerjee (Deepika Padukone) is a Bengali architect residing in Chittaranjan Park, Delhi, along with her 70-year-old widowed father, Bhashkor Banerjee (Amitabh Bachchan). The hypochondriac Bhashkor has problems with chronic constipation and traces the root of every problem to his bowel movements. His habits often lead to quarrels with their servant, Budhan (Balendra Singh), and also irritates Piku's maternal aunt, Chhobi Mashi (Moushumi Chatterjee), who often visits them. Piku loves her father and, as her mother has died, takes good care of him, but gets extremely irritated with him at times because of his eccentricities. Bhashkor undergoes many medical tests, but everything comes out to be normal, severely disappointing him. He has also recently fired the housemaid, ignoring Piku's vehement objections, for stealing phenyl, a charge that the maid opposes, and this is the fifth maid that Bhashkor has fired in the last two months.

Piku's business partner, Syed Afroze (Jisshu Sengupta) is a good friend of her, and she is a regular client of the taxi business of Syed's friend, Rana Chaudhary (Irrfan Khan). Piku's company uses Rana's taxi to commute her to the office, but Piku is notorious for being a very difficult customer. Regularly stressed both by her work and by her father's finicky behaviour, Piku criticises the drivers with excessive backseat driving, due to which they lose focus and cause several car crashes. Bhashkor is opposed to the institution of marriage and wants Piku to take of him as her child to satisfy her maternal urge. Bhashkor states that marriage is a low IQ decision, and that he wanted Piku's mother to be independent, but she wasted her life in the service of him. Bhashkor also criticises Chhobi Maashi for marrying thrice and states that her own daughter, Eisha (Rupsa Banerjee), was never a priority for her.

Meanwhile, Rana has his own family problems with his mother and sister. Rana's sister stole her mother-in-law's jewelleries and gave it to her mother, due to which her husband has now abandoned her along with her baby. Soon, Piku goes for a date with Aniket (Akshay Oberoi), but Bhashkor keeps interrupting her stating that he has a fever, and makes such a fuss that Piku has to call Bhashkor's regular doctor, Dr. Srivastava (Raghuvir Yadav), and talk about Bhashkor's feces texture and temperature, causing Aniket to lose all appetite. Moreover, no taxi driver at Rana's company wants to take Piku's duty due to her irritating nature. Rana complains to Syed, but Piku brushes both of them off, offended by Rana's rude nature, and tells Syed that she is taking a break from office. Bhashkor has a bit much to drink at Chhobi Mashi's marriage anniversary party, and the next day, his blood pressure drops and he has to be put on oxygen therapy, leaving Piku distraught.

Bhashkor's relative, Nabendu (Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury), comes from Champakunj, Kolkata to secure his consent to sell the ancestral home there. Nabendu states that a real estate developer is interested in the land and is willing to pay top rates, but Bhashkor objects vehemently and decides to visit Kolkata. Piku has to comply in accompanying him, since she cannot let him travel alone. Bhashkor cannot go by airplane due to his breathing problem, and even refuses to take a train as he receives constipation due to all the rhythmic movement. Bhashkor decides to travel by road, as he can stop wherever he wants and receive some blood circulation going in his body, but none of Rana's taxi drivers are willing to endure Piku or her eccentric father. A disappointed Piku decides to book a flight to Kolkata, but soon, Rana arrives at their home to take the family to Kolkata himself, without informing his mother and sister about the trip. Rana is puzzled when he finds loads of baggage being loaded onto his taxi, along with a lavatory chair for Bhashkor. Rana refuses to drive with Budhan in the front seat and only agrees when Piku sits in the front.

During the road trip to Kolkata, the group encounters many incidents, including Rana on the verge of losing patience due to Bhashkor's fussy behaviour and his constipation. Piku finds a large knife in Rana's car trunk. Bhashkor insists that Rana has to throw the knife away or else he would not travel by the car. Rana pleads that the knife was kept by drivers for their road traffic safety, but eventually has to compromise and throw the knife away. During discussion, Rana reveals that he is an engineer and had a job in civil construction in Saudi Arabia. He was made to work as security guard on the site, despite being offered a job as project manager. When he protested, he was fired and that is when Rana returned to India to manage his father's business. They spend the night in Varanasi where Rana shares a room with Piku and Bhashkor, as all other rooms are full, and he refuses to sleep in the car. The next morning, Bhashkor tries Indian toilet-sitting style upon Rana's suggestion, which does not seem to help either.

The group finally reaches Kolkata, where Bhashkor's younger brother and sister-in-law still live in their ancestral house, and Bhashkor asks Rana to stay for a day. Piku and Rana go out in the city and gradually grow close. Rana also subtly hints Piku to not sell the house during a discussion. The next day, Rana leaves Kolkata and requests Bhashkor to stop his eccentricities which he eventually agrees to. Piku changes her mind and decides not to sell the house. Meanwhile, Bhashkor's sudden desire to bicycle increases and he ends up bicycling through a part of the city alone, leaving everyone tensed since he did not inform anyone about it. When Bhashkor returns, Piku berates him for eating street food and for being irresponsible, but Bhashkor simply states that his constipation is cleared, and he that needs to bicycle every day. He also remembers Rana, who had advised him to eat everything and not be choosy and picky about food. Piku is secretly happy but does not emote much.

The next day, however, everyone discovers that Bhashkor has died in his sleep, probably from sleep apnea or cardiac arrhythmia. Piku states that Bhashkor always wanted a peaceful death, and that his only health problem was constipation which was also cleared on the day before his death. She returns to Delhi, where she arranges Bhashkor's funeral. While there, Dr. Srivastava reveals to Piku that Syed, too, has constipation and Bhashkor was aware about it for a long time. A few days later, Piku pays up whatever due she owes Rana and he appreciates her for having taken care of her father with devotion and patience. Piku renames the Delhi house "Bhashkor Villa" in her father's memory, and the maid, who had left due to Bhashkor's tantrums, returns to work. The film ends with a scene of Piku playing badminton with Rana in the courtyard in front of her house.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Shoojit Sircar, Director of Piku

Casting[edit]

Shoojit Sircar's original choices of the main cast were Parineeti Chopra in the title role, Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan. These three actors were given the script. However, Chopra turned down the part.[6][7] The cast of Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan was finalised in mid-2014.[8] In preparation for the role of Piku, Padukone learned Bengali as her character is from Bengal.[9] There were early reports that Jisshu Sengupta was cast as the romantic lead opposite Deepika Padukone, but Sengupta plays Padukone's character's best-friend.[10][11] Irrfan Khan plays the romantic lead opposite Deepika Padukone.[12][13] Bachchan essays the role of Piku's father, while Moushumi Chatterjee portrays Piku's maternal aunt.[14] Akshay Oberoi was cast in a cameo.[15]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography for Piku began in August 2014, when the film's first schedule took off in Kolkata.[16] The first schedule for Piku was also filmed in Delhi and Mumbai and included indoor scenes.[17][18][19] The second schedule of filming started on 30 October 2014 in Kolkata, mostly in the north.[19][20][21] Specifically, shooting took place at the Howrah Bridge in the city's Shyambazar neighbourhood and at Bishop Lefroy Road.[21][22][23] During the shooting at Howrah Bridge, Bachchan bicycled around the city dressed as his character.[24] The Kolkata schedule was completed on 18 November 2014 and shooting now shifted to Delhi and Patdi Near Surendranagar in Gujarat.[25][26]

The "Journey Song" was shot in Gujarat in December 2014 on the state highway connecting Ahmedabad to Bhuj.[27] Shooting in Delhi took place at Gurgaon cyber hub and city club where Padukone and Khan were seen filming.[28] The film was wrapped up after its last schedule shot in Varanasi. Padukone and Khan shot on the ghats of Banaras under chilly conditions and attracted a crowd.[29] Shoojit Sircar said Piku was not written with an interval in mind, but because of the tendency of Indian theatre operators to force intervals into films during screenings, Sircar decided to accommodate an interval during the editing stage.[30]

Music[edit]

Piku
Soundtrack album by
Released21 April 2015 (2015-04-21)
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length23:05
LanguageHindi
LabelZee Music Company

The music of the film is composed by Anupam Roy while the lyrics are penned Anupam Roy and Manoj Yadav. The first song, "Journey Song", was released on 1 April 2015. The official music album was released online on April 21, 2015.

Track listing
No.TitleLyricsSinger(s)Length
1."Bezubaan"Manoj Yadav, Anupam RoyAnupam Roy05:41
2."Journey Song"Anupam RoyAnupam Roy, Shreya Ghoshal, Anuj Gurwara, S. Janaki04:12
3."Lamhe Guzar Gaye"Anupam RoyAnupam Roy04:18
4."Piku"Manoj YadavSunidhi Chauhan03:26
5."Teri Meri Baatein"Anupam RoyAnupam Roy05:28
Total length:23:05

Marketing[edit]

The makers of the film released a video of day one on the sets of Piku which is called Piku Begins. The video has the cast speak about what viewers can expect from the film.[31] As a part of promotions, the makers released on-set pictures of the shooting where the main cast are seen in character.[32] Bachchan's first look was revealed — depicting his character of an old Bengali man with long hair and a big belly.[33] On 25 March 2015, as part of the promotion, Deepika revealed the poster of the film through her Twitter handle.[34]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Piku grossed 2.0 crore (US$240,000) in India on its opening day. On Saturday, the film earned 13 crore (US$1.6 million), showing a growth of 65%.[35] On Sunday, it earned 11 crore (US$1.3 million), for a domestic weekend total of 24.5 crore (US$2.9 million).[36] Internationally, Piku had the biggest opening weekend for a Hindi film of 2015, earning over US$2 million.[37] Box Office India reported that the film had a "very strong hold" on its first Monday in India, earning 25 crore (US$3.0 million), and it eventually earned 60 crore (US$7.2 million) at the end of its first week.[38] In ten days, the film earned 70 crore (US$8.4 million) in India.[39] The film earned 22 crore (US$2.6 million) in its second week, and Box Office India projected that the film would earn around 80 crore (US$9.6 million) domestically at the end of its theatrical run.[40]

Critical response[edit]

The film received widespread critical acclaim upon its release.

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes the movie has an approval score of 89% on the basis of 19 reviews with an average rating of 7.4 out of 10.

Raja Sen of Rediff.com gave Piku 4.5 out of 5 stars, writing that it is a "film with tremendous heart -- one that made me guffaw and made me weep and is making sure I'm smiling wide just thinking about it now -- but also a sharp film, with nuanced details showing off wit, progressive thought and insightful writing".[41] In a 4 out of 5 star review, The Times of India praised the writing, direction and performances.[42] Pratim D. Gupta of The Telegraph India gave an average of 7/10, saying "Don’t go in with a lot of laugh-out-loud expectations and you will enjoy Piku for what it is –– a simple, slice-of-life bittersweet tale about a family fighting constipation".[43] Gayatri Sankar of Zee News gave 4 out of 5 stars and wrote "In totality, Piku is a wonderful family film, which will certainly make you wear a broad smile."[44] Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave the film 3.5 stars out of 5 and said "On the whole, Piku is a must watch this season as it brings back the memories of the legendary directors Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Chatterjee and likes".[45]

Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave 4 stars out of five and said "Piku, directed by Shoojit Sircar, is a charming, unpredictable comedy that – like Sircar's Vicky Donor – mines humor from the unlikeliest of places".[46] Anuj Kumar of The Hindu gave it a positive review, saying "A slice of life that deals with the practical difficulties in loving your aging parents in a light-hearted, feel good way, Piku is a progressive piece of cinema that brings the parent back into the picture".[47] Sweta Kaushal of Hindustan Times praised the portrayal of a strong, independent female protagonist and noted on how well Sircar presents a "realistic view of a typical Indian family".[48] Anupama Chopra gave 4 out of 5 stars and said "Piku is a delightful film about very little and yet it says so much. This isn't a movie focused on reaching a destination. This is a movie about the journey, both literal and emotional".[49] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave 3.5 stars out of 5 and called it a "magnificently original film that delivers a memorably unique movie experience" and praised the performance of the three leads.[50] Tanmaya Nanda of Business Standard praised the film for its feminist tone and its unique approach in dealing with scatological humour.[51] Namrata Joshi of Outlook gave 3 out of 5 stars, and wrote "Piku goes into an atypical zone for a Hindi mainstream film. It breaks the plot-driven, high on drama rule and yet manages to forge a big connect with the audience; The slice-of-life film has characters, relationships and interactions that feel real and evoke empathy in viewers—be they aging parents or their caregivers".[52]

On the contrary, Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express gave 2.5 out of 5, saying "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".[53] Rachel Saltz of The New York Times wrote "Piku, directed by Shoojit Sircar from a script by Juhi Chaturvedi, isn't a typical Hindi movie. It lopes along, following no formula beyond the roughest outlines of a romantic comedy."[54]

In 2019, Film Companion ranked Padukone's performance among The 100 Greatest Performances of the Decade.[55]

Accolades[edit]

Amitabh Bachhan's performance in Piku garnered widespread critical acclaim winning him the National Film Award for Best Actor at the 63rd National Film Awards.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]