Can a cute two year old girl scare you to hell?, probe you on your responsibilities as a parent?, confront your consciousness about your understanding of love and compassion in your relationships? All these while doing her normal daily routines?
Vinod Kapri’s experimental PIHU featuring two actors – a two year old Pihu Myra Vishwakarma as Pihu and Prerna Vishwakarma as her mother does it with aplomb.
We have had the less talked about Chetan Anand’s AAKHRI KHAT (1966) – the debut of India’s first superstar Rajesh Khanna. The movie that was selected as the Indian entry for the best foreign language film at the 40th Academy Awards in 1967, was rejected but Hollywood’s 1994 family comedy BABY'S DAY OUT by John Hughes was surprisingly based on Chetan Anand’s core idea behind Aakhri Khat - a 15-month-old infant is wandering around the city. The more popular HOME ALONE by Chris Columbus saw Macaulay Culkin mistakenly left behind in the house which gets attacked by burglars.
Journalist turned award winning filmmaker Vinod Kapri (for the documentary CAN'T TAKE THIS SHIT ANYMORE, MISS TANAKPUR HAAZIR HO (first feature) smartly coins the ethos of AAKHRI KHAT and HOME ALONE with a terrifyingly unimagined scenario that we wish should not happen even with our enemies. A 2-year child Pihu is left all alone in a house filled with electric gadgets, an iron machine which is by mistake left on, water tap in kitchen left open and a mother who has fallen asleep and not waking up. The unknowingly trapped cute innocent Pihu when wanders around the house searching for food, going to the bathroom and other routines and flirts with the electronic devices at home, we get goose bumps as frequent as our breath.
Vinod Kapri in this brilliantly edged and etched spine chiller twins the modern day pathos of relationships between couples whose daily brick batting results in an impulsive decision that can be unpardonable.
Vinod Kapri does the most difficult task of holding the attention of the audience with just a two year old Pihu, as the innocence brings smile to your face (even after knowing that the child is trapped) when she giggles and says ‘ aa raha hu, jam kha raha hu’ at the sound of a door bell, within seconds the tension grips your nerves when she starts flirting with those electronic devices at home.
Yes its smartly manipulated, the opening animated credits tells you Pihu celebrated her birthday last night and the director opens the movie showing us the trapped Pihu, we as the audience gets trapped as well. A degree of believe is required and Pihu is the child that cries very less and is the one who can be happy doing things on her own, and doesn,t throw much of a tantrum and is smart enough. We think about all these but it’s a passing though as the director in his remarkable ability convinces us by making us root for Pihu by establishing fear in our hearts. We want the poor child to survive. Exceptionally done.
Pihu Myra Vishwakarma is nothing but a little wonder that makes it look so easy that it seems we are watching her home video shot by a near and dear one. Pihu’s remarkable ease and friendship with the camera is pure delight.
Yogesh Jaini's camera clearly understands the idea that scares on screen and life as well are not always those creepy demons, our bad deeds, irresponsibility, neglect and ignorance can be scary as hell as we don’t know the aftereffects of our impulse. Vishal Khurana's score is subtle and flows with the narration.
Vinod Kapri’s PIHU is a rare movie experience that underlines the truth that you don,t need big budgets/ expensive special effects to churn an engaging cinema that can entertain and enthrall. The sinister is within, we in our ego, pride and lack of understanding knowingly/ unknowingly make our world scary and infuse fear in the mind and hearts of the younger generation.
PIHU is a gut wrenchingly haunting and scary reminder in the age of smart phones, sleek wheels, social media and unknown neighbors that relationships and parenthood are not just photo sessions and get together moments. It comes with responsibilities, willingness to sacrifice and surrender for the good welfare of your child and yourself or things can be at high risk.