RSVP, Roy Kapur Films, Kirshnam Media and Bhagirathi Films present “Pihu”
Produced by: Ronnie Svrewvala, Siddharth Roy Kapur and Shilpi Jindal
Written and directed by: Vinod Kapri
Music: Vishal Khurana
Starring: Myra Vishwakarma & Prerna Sharma
MUMBAI— Our arty filmmakers, especially after being pampered by things like National awards for any other work, always get into intellectual and gimmicky (I would say these are synonymous!) zones. Writer-director Vinod Kapri decides to do the impossible: make a film starring ONLY a child who is two years plus. There is one more lady, lying inert in a bed.
The subject is offbeat: a child finds herself alone in a duplex after her birthday party. We can only guess at what happened when in the daytime, the decorated lights are still on, the iron is left on as her father has left for a meeting to another city in a hurry, and so is the water in the kitchen sink. The house, in short, is in chaos.
What is the reason for all this? Husband and wife have had a severe tiff, we are told, which ends with the wife committing suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills, after writing a message to her hot-headed husband on the dressing table mirror in lipstick! Did she really love her daughter Pihu at all?
The toddler thus gets to constantly talk to and nudge the lady, cannot understand why she is not responding and along with the risky things that happen, is also doing all kinds of things that a child her age should not. She manages her potty, and to switch on the microwave and get a roti charred while enjoying the rotating base, she even burns another roti on the gas stove, manages to lock herself in the fridge, climbs up to get her mother’s ringing cell-phone and climbs on the balcony rail in the high-rise. She even (almost) drinks the floor cleaner thinking that it is her milk!
We have to hand it to Kapri and Myra, the tot. She is a total natural as she cleans part of the mess, lugs something too heavy for her, stretches herself to reach the phone, tries to open the fridge and switch on the television. During this process, she freely and naturally converses with herself and her mom. She manages to even receive the handset calls and speak to her father and her mother’s friend (voiceover by Hrishita Bhatt).
In the process, Kapri forgets his sense of logic and we find the following loopholes: the gas that has charred the roti goes off on its own (!), the complaining neighbors say that Pihu’s party went on all night (a birthday party for a 3-year-old!) while the father on the phone admits that he and his wife fought all night long (!!), no one explains how everything was left on, and what kind of mother, in utter callousness, will kill herself not even thinking of the toddler left alone, and why the running water and the general lights were not switched off.
There are some more gaffes I have forgotten since, but then, given the self-indulgence that the film is meant to be, I guess it does not matter. Like how Pihu consumes three of the sleeping pills and is still awake, in the dark, when the door is burst open by her father in the night.
The camerawork veers between skilled and jerky, and the editing needed to be accelerated and ruthless as a lot of the sequences tend to be repetitious. The music is often too loud and stereotyped, and at 90 minutes, we feel that the film could have been shortened by a third of its cumbersome length.
After all, this is a story that heads nowhere, and any fuddled message of spouses nowadays tending to be so ego-centric and neglectful towards innocent children does not really come across. We are sure that the real story that is said to have inspired the film must have been more logical, if not more pleasant.
You can safely miss this one, because, at the end of the day, gimmicks cannot be called content-driven cinema.