Friday Classics: Piku, A Story About Death

So glad I rewatched this movie!  Especially after having seen October, so I can see what is unique to this film and what is just Shoojit Sircar.  And, more importantly, what is just Deepika.

Shoojit Sircar has had a very odd career.  He started with Yahaan, your standard Kashmir war romance type thing.  And then after a gap of 7 years, he was given a second change with Vicky Donor, a very not standard rambling story of a man who donated sperm to a fertility clinic, produced by John Abraham and featuring Ayushmann Khurranna in his film debut.  He followed that up with Madras Cafe, produced by and starring John Abraham in a rambling risky political story about Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.  It got decent critical reviews, but didn’t do well at the box office.  And then there was this movie.  Which was not something anyone had seen before.

Image result for piku poster

For a film industry and a culture which is so family based, there are really not that many family stories coming out of Hindi cinema.  There’s loads of melodramas with families shouting at each other and causing stress and so on, but those aren’t really stories about families, those are stories about family drama, about families ceasing to function.  We get about 15 minutes of “normal” family life, and then the drama hits.

This film is all the normal life, the regular day to day part of being a family.  I can’t think of anything equivalent in Hindi film, I have to look at Malayalam and Tamil to find it.  Jacobinte SwarigamAval Oru Thodharkadai, those are the movies that spring to mind as doing something similar.  But Hindi films, and Hindi actors, tend to be so hyper-real that  a regular story isn’t going to cut it.

I can think of movies that were regular life kind of stories, from the parallel cinema mostly.  Mausam, Anubhav, anything Hrishikesh Mukherjee.  But they weren’t usually about nothing.  Anand was about life and death, Mausam was about a family rocked to its foundations, Anubhav was about a husband and wife finding their way back to each other.  This is a rare movie that is truly about nothing.  A father and daughter take a trip, that’s it.  There is no central conflict, no build to it.  At least, no more than there is conflict and build in any story about a family.

And that puts the weight onto the actors.  If you look at Sircar’s career as a whole, it is the films with the strong actors that end up working.  Ayushmann in Vicky Donor was a real find, John Abraham and Nargis in Madras Cafe just couldn’t make it work, October stumbled with Varun Dhawan.  But this movie has a perfect cast.  Amitabh throws himself into a very different kind of role than he had attempted before, but one that let him showboat and use his natural ability to be the center of attention to support it.  He manages to make a character who is fun to watch without ever stooping to being charming.  Irrfan was predictably entertaining and perfectly lowkey.  And then Deepika, the real star.

It’s a very well-written role, and Dips is supported by a great cast (including Moushumi Chatterjee, popping in and out as a character so fun that it feels like they expanded her role just to get more of her), but ultimately it is a test of Dips herself and she rises to it. This is what Varun tried for and failed in October, the charm, the ease, the hints of depth, the charisma, it just wasn’t quite there. In this, Deepika doesn’t soften her character’s hard edges, but she also doesn’t resist the urge to make her charming when she needs to.  It’s a role that seems like it would require more of an art actress, perhaps an older actress.  But it works so much better with this mainstream pretty charismatic star.  We can see why she is forgiven so much, why people are drawn to her, because she has the Deepika prettiness, and the Deepika irresistible smile, and the Deepika casual grace and confidence in how she moves.  A woman whose outer surface reveals an inner softness that her personality obscures.  And a woman that we can easily watch, and enjoy watching, for hours of hours of screen time.

There’s also the style of the film.  Like Sircar’s other films, it is filmed like we are just watching these people.  No fancy lighting, no fancy camera angles, straightforward, non-judgmental.  But not showing everything, letting us put our clues together to figure it out.  Deepika’s booty call, Irrfan’s problems with his family, it’s all left for us to figure out for ourselves, not spelled out.  That’s what keeps the film going, not a lot of things happen or change, but the audience is drawn in anyway by the small things we keep learning about these people.

 

 

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There is truly not much to this plot.  Deepika lives in Delhi with her widowed retired father Amitabh Bachchan.  She is an architect and is having a casual relationship with her business partner.  She fights with her driver every morning and has to meet with the owner of the taxi company (Irrfan Khan) about it.  Then Amitabh has a health scare and declares he wants to visit the old family home in Calcutta before anything else happens.  They decide to drive as it is easier for him.  The taxi driver doesn’t show up, so Irrfan is stuck driving them himself.  He drives them for two days, then stays another day in the home in Calcutta.  And then Amitabh dies, peacefully in his sleep.  Deepika holds his funeral and thinks about her life moving forward.  She and Irrfan have coffee together, he gently teases her about her father, and then we see them peacefully playing badminton together in the courtyard of her house as she calls the sign maker to get the name of the house changed to be named after Amitabh.

That doesn’t really sound like a plot, does it?  The closest it comes to being a plot is the potential romance between Irrfan and Deepika.  And sure, that’s there.  He is clearly struck by her beauty when he first meets her, but put off by her rudeness.  And then he notices and is intrigued by the dedicated way she takes care of and puts up with Amitabh.  And she slowly lets him see more and more of herself, revealing her true character to him in a way most people don’t get to see.  And then the end is open, they are together but we don’t know how much they are together.

But it’s not a movie about Irrfan and Deepika, not really.  It’s a movie about Deepika and Amitabh, and there is no resolution there.  There is no central conflict, no beginning and no end, because that is what family is like.  It is the people in your life who are always there, who have no ending and no beginning, that is what makes them family.

This is the story of a family re-aligning itself.  Deepika and Amitabh were always a family.  But as Amitabh ages, Deepika is facing a life alone, with no one in it who is truly “hers”.  Irrfan appears and, slowly, works his way in past her reserve, becomes the solution to a problem she hadn’t fully articulated.  The journey to Calcutta is a journey into Deepika’s past with questions about her future, the theme comes up again and again of who she will be and who will be there for her after Amitabh goes.  And there is Irrfan, and there is her partner/lover.  And there is her mother’s sister and their Delhi friends, and her aunt and uncle in Calcutta.  What will last?

I should back up and talk a little about Deepika’s character and Amitabh’s and how they are related.  Deepika is a mass of contradictions.  Incapable of holding her tongue, terribly rude and fearless in work settings, but also confident and sure of herself and her talent (we see her partner both beg her to be nice to the clients, and beg her to come back to the office because he can’t handle the project).  At home she snaps at Amitabh and he snaps right back.  But when the rest of the family descend, when she is out on a date with an old friend, when she is at a party, she becomes suddenly insecure and unsure of herself.

This is how Amitabh raised her and he is proud of what he did.  He taught her not to have “low IQ”, not to get married, not to do anything for anyone else, to be selfish and be all that she could be.  He made her into a confident difficult talented successful woman.  And also a woman who doesn’t quite know how to be a “woman”, how to make small talk on dates, how to insert herself into the conversation in a social situation, you can easily picture Amitabh teaching a little girl to never back down, to never talk about meaningless things, and so on and so forth.  Essentially, he made her into his own image.  But a confident older man can get away with things that a young woman cannot, can expect the world to arrange itself around him and then watch it happen.  Young woman, they have to figure out a way to arrange themselves around the world.

And then there’s Amitabh.  He doesn’t feel like the usual retired old man.  The way he talks, like he is used to being listened to, and the way people talk about him, Moushami casually introducing him at a party as “Bhaskor” as though it is a name to conjure with.  We learn he had a good office job, but their house feels like more than that, the art on the walls and the kind of conversations they have and friends they have, it feels like Amitabh must have been a minor local artist, a painter or a poet or something more than just an office worker.  Now he may be just an old man, but he remembers what he once was, and Deepika does too.  She puts up with a lot, and she listens and does what he asks, not just because he is her father but because she still respects him and wants to gain his respect in return.

It’s an odd but familiar relationship.  If you remove all the talk about Satyajit Ray and premarital sex with family approval and all the rest of it, you are left with a child who is trying to gain their parent’s approval before it is too late, and a parent who feels themselves fading away and is trying to enforce their strength one last time.  And underneath it, is the solid love that holds it all up.

That’s what makes Deepika’s performance and character so interesting.  She is a rude frazzled irritable woman, but underneath is a solid core of love.  And a surprisingly traditional core.  She takes a blessing from her grandparents’ (?) pictures every time she leaves the house.  She just wants to get married, even if it is to some boring guy she never even liked in college.  And she will sacrifice her life for her parents, just like a good child is supposed to do.  Only, no one can see that side of her because they are distracted by her casual rudeness, the brittle shell she puts on for the world.

Irrfan is truly a secondary character, not the “hero” in the traditional sense, but he does get a bit of a backstory.  And that backstory is carefully constructed to be the compliment to Deepika’s.  Deepika is a difficult person with a difficult father and a difficult family that hide a deeply traditional and sacrificial core.  Irrfan is the opposite, a mother and a sister who are charmers and grifters, terrible at the heart.  We only get a glimpse of them, enough to learn that his sister stole jewelry from her in-laws and ran away with it and now is holding them up for more money before she will go back with her son.  Their mother encourages this behavior and the two of them are living off of Irrfan’s hard work at the taxi company his father started.  Irrfan himself, he has fallen so far below the class level of Deepika that he has no expectations of her.  He is smart and he has the education, not like the man she goes on the date with that she dismisses as not even knowing Satyajit Ray.  He is a civil engineer by education, but after a failure of his first overseas job, he is trapped working at his father’s taxi company.  While the men who are her equals may see her as beneath them, she may feel uncomfortable with them, Irrfan is different.  A smart educated man who can sneak in past her defenses.  And who knows what a truly heartless woman looks like and can rescue the value of one like Deepika whose hard exterior hides a big heart.

Deepika’s hard exterior is beginning to shake and break as Amitabh gets sicker and sicker.  There is the day to day irritation, but then there are the moments of gently stroking his arm, of sitting up with him.  And the moments when she has no other choice but to reveal a weakness to those around her.  Letting Irrfan let her sleep in the car.  Revealing to her paternal aunt (who had just secretly insulted her as heartless) that she considers her a second mother.  She is still a strong difficult woman, that will never change, but she can’t keep herself quite so emotionally closed off as she used to.

Ultimately this story is about the process of death.  Amitabh is shutting down his life, doing an emotional inventory, giving advice to his daughter and making peace with his family and visiting his past.  And Deepika is thinking about her future, preparing herself to be without Amitabh one way or another, at first by clumsily trying for a romance, and then by a more serious reflection on her own past and what she wants for the future and a discovery of who she is inside.  She and Irrfan joke about her being a 50 year old woman taking care of a 90 year old man, but inside they both know that won’t be happening, more likely she will be a 50 year old woman still struggling to build a life after spending her first 30 years taking care of her father.  She has to move on, and she does.  She makes a connection with Irrfan, with her paternal family, she finds a way to make her peace with Amitabh and deliver a nice eulogy.  And she receives and understands his message from beyond the grave, that he fears her business partner/lover has constipation as well.  Which, in the terms she understands, means that he will never be the kind of emotionally open person she needs, Amitabh taught her that motion comes with emotion.  She lets go of him and moves on to the man who is open, who is emotional, who can match her in ever way.  Amitabh is dead, but the house is named in his honor and her life moves on with his memory.

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35 thoughts on “Friday Classics: Piku, A Story About Death

  1. You wrote an entire review without mentioning the poop plot? It’s actually important to all the themes of the film. Amitabh is a control freak who is holding on to life in an unhealthy way, he can’t let go and face the inevitable. Deepika is a loving daughter who becomes enmeshed in Amitabh’s bowel obsession and can’t figure out a way to break free and live her own life. Irrfan has no problems with pooping and yet he pays Amitabh the respect of taking his troubles seriously and offering real solutions, which helps Amitabh to let go and truly enjoy life for one glorious day before he dies. Deepika sees that Irrfan is right for her because he is both respectful (truly respectful, not simple deferential) to her father and also respects and cares about her exactly as she is, no need to mold herself to meet a man’s expectations. And then after Amitabh dies there’s the absolutely hilarious scene where Deepika confronts her lover/possible fiance and demands to know if he’s constipated and when he says yes she breaks it off with him to be with the man who never has problems on the toilet, i.e. the man who is completely comfortable with himself and with her too.

    Also, the movie implies they are getting married because of the return of the servant while they are playing badminton. When the servant first leaves the household she says she’ll come back when Deepika gets married so her return is a confirmation that Deepika and Irrfan have committed to each other.

    I just love this movie so much. I love that they don’t try to rehabilitate the heroine or think she’s in need of rehabilitation, she’s as cranky and difficult at the end as she is in the beginning and still gets a great guy. I love that there’s no clinch or declaration of love, the audience is respected enough that we are trusted to see the evolution of the relationship and understand the nuances. I love that Amitabh gives a speech to his sister in law about her low IQ decision to pass on the job he got for her because she would’ve made more than her husband. That as much of a jerk Amitabh can be, he has a fundamental respect for women as full human beings.

    This is my husband’s favorite Hindi film. We’ve watched it twice and my hubby can barely sit through one whole movie, much less rewatch one.

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    • I think you have a better grasp on this movie than I do! Your interpretation of Amitabh’s constipation makes complete sense, a man who always has to be in control of everything. And that control is the issue with the potential lover as well, he seemed very passive, but he was also subtly trying to control Dips, picking her up from the bad date and trying to tell her what to do in the office and all that. Unlike Irrfan who rolled his eyes and openly showed his irritation, but didn’t try to trick her or force her into anything.

      I find it fascinating that Amitabh’s character is both a true feminist, and the usual patriarchal jerk. He thinks woman should succeed and be full human beings and so on, but he also thinks he knows what is best for them. He isn’t forcing his daughter to get married, but he is forcing her to NOT get married. She still doesn’t get to make her own decision. He feels the right to judge his wife for marrying him and giving up her own life, and his sister-in-law for turning down a job. This type is something that I find much more common in real life than is ever shown on film, intellectually believing the right things but still conditioned to act in a certain way with patriarchal authority.

      Oh! And the sister passing on the job, that is echoed in Deepika and Irrfan getting together at the end with him (seemingly) moving into her house and still working at a lower level lower class kind of social position than she has. But Deepika does not try to make herself small for him, and Irrfan doesn’t expect her to.

      On Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 9:31 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • What saves Amitabh from being just another patriarchal jerk is the scene where he forces Irrfan to throw away his knife. He tries to control men too. Basically, he’s trying to control the whole world, down to controlling whether or not he dies.

        But then there’s the scene where Irrfan refuses to turn the car around and shouts Amitabh down and you can see that Amitabh suddenly realizes who he’s dealing with, that Irrfan has a strength that isn’t obvious because he’s not a bully.

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        • It’s also interesting to think about Irrfan as having his own journey to seeing the value of control. His sister and mother bully him and he passively avoids them, he got stuck in a bad employment situation partly because of his passive acceptance. He finally stands up to Amitabh and organizes the journey in his own way. I could see a different movie that was about a quiet guy who had been worn down slowly gaining back his confidence and sense of himself and falling in love with a beautiful woman. But Sircar was interested in Dips and Amitabh in this film, not Irrfan.

          Have you seen Shaandar? It’s kind of a similar love story. Alia’s family is a disaster in many ways, Shahid is the wedding planner, and he just calmly wins her over.

          On Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 10:14 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. What a lovely movie! I was waiting for your post. As expected, such a wonderful in-depth analysis!
    Deepkia was so good in this, brilliantly conveying her warmth beneath the gruff exterior. The entire cast was great, script was well-written, but the movie wouldn’t have held together so well if Deepika’s central performance wasn’t upto the mark.
    I just have one complaint, which is the pre-interval scene with the knife. I get what the makers was going for. A tense moment to bring all the hidden emotions up to the surface. But it kinda makes sense for a long distance cab driver to carry a self defense weapon. Also that his passengers to freak out. It’s just that the tension due to the weapon didn’t really translate well into the inter-personal issues the trio was having with each other. It just seemed odd.

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        • Yep, and that’s also something, in a small way, that Irrfan starts working on during the journey. He makes Dips get into the front seat with him before they leave the house. He encourages her to drive the car. He takes her out in Calcutta and insists on sharing a room in Banares.

          One of the best things about this movie is showing a love story that’s not love at first sight. Irrfan clearly notices that Deepika is beautiful, but he doesn’t really like her or want her to like him particularly at the first meeting. But he likes her enough to want her to ride in the front seat. And she likes his sense of humor and way of dealing with Amitabh enough to keep riding in the front seat. And then he pushes a little to learn more about her and she opens up a little and it’s this gentle dance of back and forth as they slowly ease forward. And they both become irritated with Amitabh as their romance progresses, Deepika stands up to him about how he is always driving man away, and Irrfan asks him to be just a little bit easier to get along with.

          On Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 11:17 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Even Irrfan’s defense in the knife scene isn’t “I want to keep the knife in the car” but rather “It is the driver’s knife, I don’t know what he wants”. Irrfan is once again pushing responsibility off onto someone else.

        On Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 11:15 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Agree, it wasn’t a big problem with the narrative, but it was a clear moment of “we have to come up with something for the interval” instead of just following a natural progression of the story. Especially the way it dissipated as soon as the interval was over.

      On Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 10:46 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Shoojit said that was a scene they created because they felt they needed a full stop, where the characters clashed so much that they can no longer move forward. He described it in an Inside a Scene video, and it was completely improvised. I was also a bit perplexed by it when I watched the movie. Watching it as a study of what each actor did when pushed like this by the director, though, is interesting. Irrfan and Amitabh play off of and push each other, Deepika is a bit at a loss but stays with them.

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        • Oh how interesting! that makes sense of why it felt so kind of loose and unclear.

          On Sat, Sep 29, 2018 at 7:10 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. What a slow and subtle movie. (By Slow, i don’t mean too slow, I just mean it it is unhurried and naturally paced.) This was my second time watching it end to end. Thanks to both you and Alyssa (in the comments) for your respective reviews, both helping me to appreciate this movie even more.

    This movie is very poignant for me because this is my life and my dad’s life right now. I feel like I learn little lessons from it each time I watch scenes from it, lessons that I can literally employ immediately and effectively in my own life. Anyone who is living with and looking after a declining elderly parent would feel the same, and I recommend it as required viewing for them.

    Now please send an Irrfan into my life (since the IRL one is happily married) and this would metaphorically be my life story. 😀

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    • There are so few films from any industry that deal with the day to day reality of caring for a parent. The mixture of grabbing whatever good times you can and just daily grunt work. And the loneliness, the film uses the idea of Deepika becoming Amitabh’s parent a few times and there were a lot of ways that I see her life as a sole caregiver as similar to the life of a single parent. She doesn’t have time to build connections with people her own age, instead stuck in play groups of Amitabh’s age, and no time to try anything else. No time to think about who she is as a person either, it’s all work or taking care of Amitabh without a break.

      And I will keep good thoughts for an Irrfan to suddenly appear in your life!!!! You deserve an Irrfan 🙂

      On Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 2:37 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yes, that scene where he calls her at work and she has to leave in the middle of everything and go home. That’s an exact parallel to parenting, it made me cringe in sympathy.

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        • Yep, and the time she attempts to have a date and has to take his call in the middle of it and then call the doctor and completely turns off her date.

          On Sat, Sep 29, 2018 at 7:35 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • That date was a narcissistic a**hole, the screen didn’t ring true for me because I can’t imagine any date reacting like that in that situation. Plus the actor looked like he was reading his lines.

            But if anyone did that to me, I’d leave voluntarily, thinking “phew, bullet dodged!” and thanking him for showing his true colors so quickly, this savng us both time.

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          • I like that Priyanka doesn’t even think it is an odd conversation to have, or odd to answer the phone during a date. Very normal caregiver/parent behavior, and also shows how horrible the date is for not understanding.

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  4. Only Shojit Sarkaar can make a meaning full movie on Constipation issue.
    an incredible task on world movie history, to make move on Constipation and Loo troubles.

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  5. This is one of my favorite movies, ever. I have the another version of the movie poster up in our spare bedroom/home office. Along with Koyla and KHKN. 🙂

    You and Alisa have done a beautiful job pulling out the themes. I agree with you that it’s the way little details and bits of these peoples’ story and personalities are revealed that draws us into this little family world. The music is such an amazing part of the story also. Amitabh dancing in his bedroom, Amitabh on the bicycles, and Amitabh bringing the street snacks into the house at the end of his day out are such lovely actor-ish scenes. Not Amitabh-ish, but actor-ish, actually embodying a character.

    Has Deepika given any other performance nearly as good? I can’t think of one. Maybe she just really got the character, or maybe it was good direction. And she certainly was working with a fine cast.

    And a super petty thing. I heard rumblings that Amitabh and she didn’t get along on the set and during promotions, possibly because he was being skeezy. Do you think this was really a thing, or just rumors to get clicks?

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    • I just checked Deepika’s filmography against my memory, and I remembered right, she has only been in two movies since Piku. Padmavat, which was a whole different kind of film requiring a different kind of performance. And Tamasha, which I thought she was wonderful in but her character was seriously underwritten so she didn’t really have anything to work with. The two other films that Dips has gotten acting praise for, I haven’t seen, Cocktail and Finding Fanny. So I don’t know if they are good or not. I really like her in everything since Chennai Express, I feel like she brings a lot to her characters, but this is the only film I have seen where the script matched up to her performance. So I don’t know, maybe she is a talent that never gets a chance to express itself, or maybe it was a one off.

      I love Amitabh’s performance in this as well, because the character is so close to him in real life (magnetic, demanding, the center of the family) but he doesn’t use that, he builds a completely different and unique character to match the role. You truly do forget that it is Amitabh you are watching. He conquers his own charisma, if that makes sense.

      As for the rumors, I would land heavily on “just rumors”. The only thing I remember from the set were a few smiling candid photos and nice comments about each other on twitter.

      On Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 4:34 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Oh, and she was also in Bajirao! But really, Bajirao and Padmavat are essentially interchangeable, especially in regards to her performances.

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        • You mean my reasonable and intellectual decision that I HATE EVERYTHING HE MAKES BURN IT TO THE GROUND BURN IT BURNIT!!!!!!!!!!!! That feeling?

          (see, before I went to grad school and fully understood how to analyze films, my feelings were only one “burn it”. Education changes so much)

          On Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 5:02 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. The first time I watched this movie, I think I kind of knew Amitabh was big like Robert Deniro, I recognized Irrfan but didn’t know anything about him, and I had no idea who Deepika was. I liked the realism and the performances but I was put off a bit by all the poop talk (just not my favorite topic of conversation, despite living with two small boys who would be happy talking of nothing else). I remember thinking Deepika was especially beautiful for an indie actress :).

    This really is such a wonderful performance and role, I appreciated it even more when I came back to the movie a couple of months ago. She has these moments – there’s one when they’re at the family house and the family is pressuring Irrfan about something (maybe fixing the water?), Deepika is sitting against a wall chewing on a fingernail and she just glances up at him and shrugs like “you’re on your own”. In a more conventional movie, that would have been a demure, pretty little exchange of glances leading up to their inevitable happy romantic ending, but she never falls into the easy romance tropes and neither does the film. Thinking about it now, I suspect part of what I struggled with the first time is that we don’t get to see her happy very much at all. She has this fierce independence, and the close relationship with her father that grounds and also limits her, but neither her work nor her family seem to bring her joy – though perhaps a more pragmatic satisfaction of doing what she set out to do.

    I agree with procrastinatrix, Amitabh’s father is a perfect character study, essential in so many ways for Deepika’s daughter to be understood and sympathetic to the audience. Irrfan is irreplaceable. He’s the rational foil to show how unreasonable the other two have become, locked in their odd co-dependence, but your reading of his journey from passivity to action seems exactly right too. I love Alisa’s analysis of the control-constipation theme, that seem spot on, and very Joycean :). This is the movie I want to watch next with my friend whenever we can find a time to do another movie night. She would love the bits that put me off the first time, and there are so many other great elements as well that make it an enjoyable film to watch – the family, the house, the road trip itself.

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    • I love your description of her relationship with her father as grounding but limiting her. that’s the challenge, she wants to break free of those limits but can’t let go of Amitabh either. so she needs to find a man who can accept them both, her and Amitabh as a package deal.

      You are right that she hardly ever seems happy. there are a few wonderful moments when Irrfan makes her smile, but mostly it is just a sort of low level of stress all the time. Another reason Deepika is such great casting, she has this amazing smile, so you notice it when it appears and just want it to show up more and more.

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  7. I loved watching this again and I’m getting so much out of everyone’s comments. For me, the big loving family is what resonates. It reminded me a bit of Ray’s The Big City, which I watched recently, In that movie, the young wife’s entry into the workforce is the catalyst for all types of conflict in her family, which lives crammed together in a small Kolkata flat. Yet, the family is a safe cocoon in the middle of the big city. This family seems just as conflict-ridden and maybe codependent but you can see their connection—like Deepika irritably telling her aunt that the aunt will do her wedding rituals in her mother’s place,. It’s such a real portrayal. Deepika and Amitabh seem to bond through music. When Amitabh comes home drunk Deepika puts aside her irritation to dance a few steps with him. In the car they seem truly happy together singIng Ei Poth Jodi Na Sesh Hoy—from an Uttam and Suchitra film about a feisty daughter and her truly evil father.

    Another thing I notice is how the men in the story, including Irrfan, keep telling Deepika how to be a modern feminist—she shouldn’t get married, she should be proud not to be a virgin, she should be happy she knows how to drive when so many women in the world can’t. Irrfan tells her to start meditating as she literally bites her fingernails.

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    • Yes! The film does such a good job of showing that it’s not about the content of the male advice, but the very fact it exists which is damaging. Every wants Deepika to be strong and independent, but only the way they want her to do it.

      On Sat, Sep 29, 2018 at 10:50 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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  8. Amitabh’s portrayal of an anal retentive personality is spot on; while Deepika’s co-dependence on her father is portrayed just as well. Have enjoyed all the comments as this is one of my favorite movies.

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    • It’s such a nice portrait of a relationship that doesn’t feel filmi, doesn’t have the easy answers or the pretty gloss.

      On Sun, Sep 30, 2018 at 2:35 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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