Myra Vishwakarma, Prerna Sharma
When you hear that a film is about a small girl, a two year old girl to be precise, who is home alone, it is enough to get you a little edgy, a lot desperate and jumpy. You can be certain that the film is hinting at something going awfully wrong with the child, and sadistically you sign up to the torture of seeing a tiny tot being put in precarious situations.
I dragged myself into the theatre, knowing this festival-film will not me easy on my heart! After two C-sections you are putty at the hands of a manipulative filmmaker that uses children to bring out the paranoia in you.
National Award winning director, Vinod Kapri’s Pihu is about a 2 year old (Myra Vishwakarma) whose mother won’t ‘wake up’. At least that’s what the little girl believes, we know that the mother is no more. The thought of the little girl alone with her deceased mother’s corpse is very unsettling to begin with. Her father being away for business this child is left alone in the apartment for a very long time. He calls but he doesn’t really care that his wife isn’t responding to his litany, which is rather weird!
Pihu is every parent’s biggest nightmare to see that child wandering around in the house with or without a dead body involved in the picture and Kapri uses it to his best possible advantage. Little Pihu gets on the brink of disaster every moment of screen time. From dangling precariously from the veranda of her high-rise apartment to getting into the fridge to the sleeping pills strewn around the house, everything spells doom. It’s so stressful for the audience that the helplessness you feel sitting in that comfortable chair starts annoying you.
Yet, you cannot shake that feeling that the director is playing with you. The obvious manipulation gets irritating after a point. Throughout the screenplay which is written by Vinod Kapri himself, you see him trying to simplify the potent danger by spelling the doom to the audience using gimmicks in the form of a jarring background score, getting the child’s soft toy to take a tumble instead of the child… and so on. The motions start getting repetitive, only to be jostled by the camera work. The director chooses to alternate between picturising the scene from the child’s perspective and the audiences, the jump keeps disturbing the equilibrium of the film. Of course, it is an intentional pattern but instead of playing with your mind, these camera jerks annoy the eyes.
How the film ends, well, I cannot give that away but I will tell you how I felt at the end of it all. I felt disappointed because here is a film which could have been the answer to some of the work that is being done internationally, yet the director chose to make this film as a showcase of his intellect rather than make something heartfelt. In the way that he is tried to be clever about everything from frames, to the camera work, the child’s closeups etc, makes you feel like he is only showing off his skills to an audience he finds unworthy of understanding his superior cinema. What a pity, Pihu!