Director: Vinod Kapri
Journalist-turned-director Vinod Kapri’s first outing, Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho (2016), gave us a glimpse into his creative world that was heavily influenced by the then political scenario. It was a satire with rural touch. Actors used slang and suggestive gestures liberally. It wasn’t exactly suited for the urbane, somewhat sophisticated, audiences, never exposed to that kind of wry humour. Despite a motley group of actors, a lot of it was lost in translation.
Two years later, he is back with a story that has no actor, except a 2-year-old, no comic relief and is absolutely urban in nature. And what a stunning comeback it is!
It’s a beautiful flat in one of Noida high-rises. You have driven past them, maybe you live in one of them. A perfect little cosy world you have built for your nuclear family where neighbours don’t cross the threshold. A screaming TV or the buzzing phone is your window to the world.
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In one of these lives little Pihu (Myra). Last night, she turned two. This morning, her world is about to change, but she is too small to understand it. Her mother is unconscious and her father is out of town.
All this happens within five minutes into the film whose impressive opening credit raises your curiosity. Now, Pihu is all alone in the house that has a running tap, an unprotected balcony and a faulty ironing device. This is a recipe for disaster even for adults. You can hope for outside help but that doesn’t seem possible as Kapri eliminates all possibilities one by one.
The kid is definitely sharper than what you’d expect in the beginning. She can carry a stool all the way to the first floor, and understands how to operate a TV remote control. She is intrigued about the sounds and keeps going back to her unconscious mother. It’s also about survival and thus she keeps eating whatever she gets her hands on.
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Kapri intelligently uses all these situations as if he is dealing with a well-groomed actor. You don’t want the kid to die as she nears a naked wire or looks intriguingly towards sleeping pills. The film sometimes feels stretched but then you can never know how a kid would react in similar circumstances, can you? Pihu is all about a situation which may go haywire and its success lies in the fact that you don’t want it to end as a tragedy. You’re on Pihu’s side.
At 96-minutes, Pihu grips you by the neck and doesn’t let your bat an eyelid. However, it could have helped a whole lot if it had a tighter second half.
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