Piku: A Few Random Thoughts

Yes, I’m late to party. And yes I’m going to be a party pooper, although the party is pretty much about poop, so actually I’m not really pooping it, am I?

Yes, coming from a family where dinner table conversations/jokes about everything shit are not just kosher, but even mandatory, I didn’t find much of the pooping humor all that impressive (sic!). But that’s a minor crib. The major I will save for Bhaskor.

From the promos, to the reviews, I had been prepared for a quirky but sweet, even “supportive” father, but all I found was a hypocritical patriarch using the system to the hilt, mouthing feminist ideas to suit his selfish ends. Throughout the film Bhaskor keeps on talking about “low IQ decisions” of women throwing away their careers for a man, while in reality, he is the cause of one having to throw it away (near the end, Piku in an outburst talks about how her mother he made it impossible for her to do anything else), while the other women in his life, Piku, is throwing away chance of intimacy, companionship, and love, just to take care of his motions. Oh, yeah, not e-motions, we’re still in the pre-internet era.

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The trouble with Piku is, it tries to sell us this quirky/garrulous but sweet and different father, even supportive of Piku’s independence (both financial and sexual as he insists, to one possible, even if a long shot, suitor, in the first few minutes), and wanting only the best for her. Really? All I can see him wanting is the best for him, to hell with everything. And this, this worse-than-regressive, this manipulative, demanding, self-centered, pain-in-the-ass character is presented as somehow likeable, even some kind of post-feminist icon because he is ready to accept his daughter’s sexual independence, and criticizes his wife (and other women) — not for being independent, but for not being independent. But really, it’s a charade. Case in point? He wouldn’t even let her drive! Or have a conversation with men, when he’s around. Or have a life.

Yes, it’s a charade.

Initially, it reminds us of the misanthropic, misogynist Melvin Udall from As Good As It Gets, but by then end, there is nothing redeeming about him, not even by a mile, unlike Melvin. The only redeeming thing he does is that he mercifully dies.

That said, the movie is still worth a watch for the performances. Just stop all that non-sense about such a different father. Different doesn’t cut it. He’s still a jerk.

End Note: What’s with Deepika and road trips? Especially with an assortment of grumpy old people? That’s two in a row now. Not to mention dysfunctional families? Not that I’m complaining. She’s doing all the right motions. Err pun entirely not required, but intended.

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