It has been many months since Irrfan Khan left this world. I say ‘this world’ because I’d like to believe there is another where he is thriving, performing, cracking jokes and looking for good roles.
I doubt Irrfan has even thought about resting. He wasn’t one of those.
Carrying that hope in my heart, I revisited one of my favourite Irrfan movies today: Piku.
Released on this day in 2015, Piku, to me, will always be one of his finest works.
For the humour, for the nuances and for the treasured ‘Irrfan Khan softness’, which is addictive, for the lack of a better term.
Irrfan played the role of Rana Chaudhary in the movie, a taxi service provider fed up of his client Piku (Deepika Padukone) getting his cars into accidents.
However, while communicating with her, he never gets too angry – hinting early on that he has feelings for her.
In the 2-hour-long movie, the line between this ‘hinting’ and confession is never crossed. Not even once.
In fact, you are totally convinced about their romance by the climax, but the evidence is so subtle and beautiful, you feel like you might jinx things by talking about them.
That is a testament to Irrfan and Deepika’s talent.
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लम्हे गुज़र गये चेहरे बदल गये हम थे अंजानी राहो में पल में रुला दिया पल में हसा के फिर रह गये हम जी राहो में थोड़ा सा पानी है रंग है थोड़ी सी छावो है चुभती है आँखो में धूप ये खुली दिशाओ में और दर्द भी मीठा लगे सब फ़ासले ये कम हुए ख्वाबो से रस्ते सजाने तो दो यादो को दिल में बसाने तो दो लम्हे गुज़र गये चेहरे बदल गये हम थे अंजानी राहो में थोड़ी सी बेरूख़ी जाने दो थोड़ी सी ज़िंदगी लाखो स्वालो में ढूंधू क्या थक गयी ये ज़मीन है जो मिल गया ये आस्मा तो आस्मा से मांगू क्या ख्वाबो से रस्ते सजाने तो दो यादो को दिल में बसाने तो दो -Piku Rest in Peace my Dear Friend…💔 #rana #piku #bhaskor @shoojitsircar @juhic3 #5yearsofpiku
Piku lives in Delhi with her father Bashkor Banerjee (Amitabh Bachchan) who has constipation. And that is all they talk about.
Everything is in context of bowel movement: From women’s rights to marriage, from love to arguments, from building a home to the journey to that home.
A journey that takes Bashkor and Piku to Kolkata, with Rana behind the wheels.
It is during this drive that Rana and Piku really get to know each other.
He understands why she is stubborn and she realises that he is not a jerk after all.
Piku has responsibilities and Rana, disappointments. His wife leaves him and his previous job turns out to be a nightmare. Meanwhile at home, his mother and sister keep giving him a tough time.
He still takes it easy, though. At least on the surface.
He tries to ease the tension during father-daughter fights, entertains Bashkor’s difficult demands and often keeps his ego aside when others’ prove to be a roadblock.
Rana is a character that doesn’t take himself too seriously.
And for a person who is as talkative as him, he is quite shy.
The sort who will not admit his feelings out of fear of being too vulnerable, the sort who’d rather joke about stuff than take the risk of making things awkward.
However, when the time comes, he can even fight for others and show compassion in the warmest way possible.
Irrfan portrayed all these qualities with enviable ease and it is crazy to think that he is the same guy who played the roles of Roohdar (Haider) and Maqbool.
In a number of scenes, he doesn’t even use words. He communicates with just a smile or a look. Those are the best scenes in the movie.
Irrfan was like that. He had the talent of filling gaps with authenticity. He’d sigh, look to the side and the scene would turn into something magical.
A major part of Piku is shot on highways and inside a moving car. The film moves fast. And it takes the characters and the viewers on a journey that isn’t forgettable.