Reviews

‘Pihu’ review: Toddler in a trap called home

Deliberately designed, repetitive, predictable and emotionally manipulative, Pihu is cinema at its most duplicitous.

The tacky, home video feel of Pihu is the least of the problems with Vinod Kapri’s toddler version of Trapped. It is the emotional manipulation and exploitativeness in the garb of self-righteous posturing on marriage, kids and family that makes it disturbing in its duplicitousness.

The Home Alone-bit might feel very much like the Vikramaditya Motwane film but the bigger influence on Pihu is actually that of Chetan Anand’s Aakhri Khat. Kapri cunningly marries the two to make something seemingly novel, when it is far from it. A good portion of Anand’s 1966 film was all about an infant separated from (or, without revealing any more, let’s say unwittingly abandoned by a hapless, helpless mother). A similar trope plays out here.

Pihu
  • Director: Vinod Kapri
  • Starring: Pihu Myra Vishwakarma, Prerna Vishwakarma
  • Storyline: A two-year-old girl is locked in, all alone, in her own home

Only Pihu is left to fend for herself within the supposed safety and security of home, while Bunty was let loose in the big bad city. Both eat whatever they can lay their hands on, including pills. Both have a way with the mother figures — Pihu lying atop her still and silent mom, Bunty embracing his mother’s statue — that the directors use to whip up pathos. And all the while an unobtrusive camera follows and films the kids.

Kapri wants to do too much — make an edge of the seat thriller, comment on modern day marriages and nuclear families and the heightened presence of technology in our lives. He does justice to nothing.

Instead of the threats and fears cutting close to the bone, every object of danger is so deliberately planted — right from the iron, geyser and gas to the many bottles atop the refrigerator that it gets exasperating and laughable beyond a point. Pihu sure does live in the most child-unfriendly house in the history of Hindi cinema.

However, while dangers loom large, they also go away just like that, in the blink of the eye. They seem to be at the beck and call and whim of the script and the director. So, despite all the extreme machinations (dangling her in the balcony for instance) that the filmmaker indulges in with the child, despite getting enraged at her cuteness being exploited to send the adults on a guilt trip, you ultimately know how it will pan out. But 90 odd minutes of it is way too much of a torture, as much for Pihu, as for us.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 4:33:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/reviews/pihu-review-toddler-in-a-trap-called-home/article25518178.ece

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