Warning: This review contains mild spoilers
What do you think little “Pihu” will do when she wakes up to a dead mother and she’s all by herself?
Everything you can expect from an average two year old.
First of, she will need to use the restroom but she cannot clean herself up. Then she will get hungry but she cannot cook. She will cry, get restless and want to go out to play but there is no way to go out except through the balcony.
When “Pihu” woke up the morning after her 2nd birthday, her father Gaurav had gone on a business trip. Her mother Pooja was lying in bed but lifeless. Pihu does not know what death is. She believes that her mother is sleeping. She tries to wake Pooja up but when all attempts fail, Pihu goes about her day.
The Indian drama, “Pihu,” is a warning never to leave a child at home alone and unattended. But it is much more a lesson on the consequences the actions of adults can have on their beloved. More so, when they don’t think before they act.
Still, the saddest issue which this film brings to the fore is the reality that modernatization and the shift from communal living can be detrimental to society. Gaurav and Pooja’s self-centred neighbours, despite the signs, did not put their egos aside to find out if all was well with their neighbours.
On a brighter note, the audience learns that two-year olds are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. Pihu is intelligent. She can find her way around a mobile phone, if only the caller took her seriously.
Like “Mom,” this film is a serious social issue drama. “Pihu” is nail-biting. Everything that could go wrong goes wrong. And for the 90-minute runtime, you will hope against hope that Pihu makes it out alive.
The story is simple. It is shot in one location. The film has a small cast, yet it is powerful.
Myra Vishwakarma stars as the eponymous “Pihu” and her real-life mother Prerna Vishwakarma played her onscreen mother, Pooja. However, Myra is the only actor who actually gives a performance. Rahul Bagga who plays her father Gaurav, friends and neighbours only deliver voice overs, but, Myra holds the audience for a good 90 minutes from start to finish.
According to The Indian Express, Myra was two years old when the film was shot. Her portrayal of that childhood innocence in the midst of danger is phenomenal. Her mannerisms are too relatable. In the scene where Pooja’s mobile phone falls on the floor, Pihu’s reaction is brilliant. You will have heart palipitations, and at the same time, Myra’s acting will warm your heart. It suffices to say that Myra was born to be an actor.
However, the film’s writer and director Vinod Kapri must be lauded for his ability to bring out Myra’s clever acting skills. Keeping a two year old on set is hard work because a two-year old will always be a two year-old. Like her character, Myra will get tired and restless, so Kapri’s decision to cast Myra’s real-life parent to star as her onscreen mother was certainly a right move.
The location used in the film is just as brilliant as the screenplay and Myra’s acting. Aren’t the handwriting on the wall so typical of homes with toddlers? And that after party mess? It was also all-too-familiar.
The film is not without flaws though. For instance, the impact of the iron mishap on Pihu’s finger did not seem serious enough. Nevertheless, hats off to Kapri and the producers Ronnie Screwvala, Siddharth Roy Kapur and Shilpa Jindal.
“Pihu” is a collaboration between Bollywood’s RSVP Movies and Roy Kapur Films. The film is subtitled in English and it is streaming on Netflix.