Director: Vinod Kapri
Cast: Myra Vishwakarma
What does a toddler do when left alone in the house? Even for people who may not be parents, the thought itself is extremely worrisome. Let’s face it: we all have had that an eerie feeling of getting trapped in closed places, be it an elevator, a room or any apartment with no one coming to our rescue. The unnerving thought would scare the daylights of some otherwise confident and perfectly fine individuals. It’s even scarier if it is a two-year old child stuck in a similar situation.
The social thriller Pihu directed by Vinod Kapri is about a two-year baby girl, who is found living in a home at a time when the other two adults in the family — her parents — are going through a complicated phase of their marital life. Before you jump to conclusions about the similarity between this film and the Hollywood film Home Alone series, let me make it clear that there is no similarity between the two.
Why only a child, many among the adults too, don’t seem to be very comfortable staying all by themselves, that too, for a long duration. Even if you are not, watching a film with just a child as the protagonist may not be your favorite way to get entertained. All through, you will feel restless, anxious, alarmed, terrified and at times, bored even when you are on tenterhooks watching a few scenes wherein the toddler mistakenly locks herself inside a refrigerator; or turns on the gas cylinder; walks around the house with broken pieces of glass strewn, or dangerously leaning from the terrace.
When Pihu (Myra Vishkarma) wakes up one morning in one of the high rise apartments in Uttar Pradesh, she is oblivious to what is in store for her: her mother (Prerna Sharma) lies motionless on bed and her father keeps making phonecalls while he is on his way to the airport to attend a meeting in Kolkata, and throughout the time, he is away. There are no other characters to be seen; just a few random voices heard-some from the balcony and neighborhood. As Pihu is seen wandering around the house for fulfilling her needs: from looking for milk and food items for survival while all along trying desperately to wake up her mother, who she believes, has been sleeping, she glides through various spots with ease as you hold your breath and wait for her get past some hazardous, and often life-threatening circumstances.
Your interest in her doubles up when you watch this angelic cute girl trying to get on with life’s unexpected turns, and wonder if she is aware that the camera is rolling through. But after a while, her cherubic innocence wears you off, for no fault of hers though. What tires you is the 93 minutes of a film that refuses to move on. Optimistically, I almost imagined that something was on its way, making me wait with anxious trepidation what would happen to her.
And when I got interrupted by the ringing of the mobile and heard her father’s voice, it got be a wee bit excited again. But, it turned out to be a futile wait: the film, like its lead child, looks confined to a limited plot with precious little variation. Naturally, like me, you all would also be disappointed.
Time and again, it has been proved that mere ideation of a great film doesn’t make an engaging narrative. Director Kapri has claimed that the story is based on a real life incident that he knows of. There are reports that a New York based report could be the trigger for its basic premise. Whatever be the source, you don’t find the idea bizarre or something that is unlikely to take place. All you wish that despite having one of the most endearing and loveable child actors, Pihu doesn’t move forward.