Year of release: 2015
Director: Shoojit Sircar
Actors: Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Irfan Khan
Piku is a motion picture which talks about motion. I love Piku for many reasons. Deepika’s look, Amitabh’s acting, Irfan’s irritation, the journey and most importantly because it talks straight to your heart. It’s a story of Piku, young and independent woman and her father, Bhashkor; who has a rather serious motion problem. The father and the daughter embark on a road trip from Delhi to Kolkata, halting at Varanasi. The movie takes us through Delhi, Varanasi, Kolkata and a beautiful long stretched highway. The director shows us the capital city Delhi beyond Red Fort and Chandani Chowk. He gives us a chance to enjoy the quite serenity of the Varanasi Ghat. And of course the famous cycle ride through main roads and small alleys of Kolkata.
The movie starts and ends in Delhi. The Banerjee family is shown settled in Delhi. The scenes where Piku and Rana have conversations were shot at Gurgaon cyber hub and city club. The scene where Piku and Rana’s mutual friend, Syed Afroz, convinces them to work together was shot at the Gurgaon City Club. The pre-climax scene where Piku and Rana are shown having light conversation about the death of her father, was shot at Gurgaon City Hub.
The Banerjee family, their servant and Rana are shown going to Kolkata by road via Varanasi. But the actual highway scenes were shot at the Gujrat State highway state highway connecting Ahmedabad and Bhuj. The Journey Song was shot on this highway. The fight between Bhashkor and Rana over a knife was shot at Patdi Near Surendranagar in Gujrat.
Piku and the rest take a small hault at Puransinh ka dhaba on the highway. They eat, talk and relax for a while. When we see the dhaba, we have a feeling that we have seen it somewhere but don’t know exactly where. Well the dhaba in the movie was created from scratch as it was a set. It looks so familiar because the art direction team has taken references from many real dhabas on the highways. The set of Puransinh ka dhaba was created near Malvan toll tax booth. The Malvan village is located in the Surendranagar district in Gujrat.
Chet Singh Ghat, Varanasi
The film’s last schedule was shot in the city of Ghats i.e. Varanasi. The Banerjee family take their night halt at a hotel in Varanasi. Here Piku and Rana are shown talking about Bhashkor sitting on the Chet Singh Ghat.
The palatial building of the Chet Singh Ghat was built in the mid 18th century by Chet Singh as a small fortress. But he lost his fortress in 1781 in a battle with British troops headed by Warren Hastings. In late 19th century King Prabhunarayan Singh got his hold on the fort. Later he donated the northern part of the estate to a Naga group of ascetics who later built the actual ghat we see today.
Howrah Bridge, Kolkata, India
When we see Howrah Bridge on screen, we know it’s the story of Kolkata and Bengali people. The bridge is a connection between Howrah city and Kolkata city. In the movie we see the bridge when the Banerjee family reach Kolkata.
Laha Bari Mansion
The Laha Bari Mansion is one of the famous Bonedi Bari (Aristocratic Homes) from Kolkata. The Champakunj house in the movie is the heritage Laha Bari Mansion. Built in the British era, the mansion is famous for its 170 year long tradition of Durga Pooja. The Durga Pooja performed here is very unique as the Durga is seen in the arms of Lord Shiva and her eyes are closed shut. The reasons being, Mother Durga bestowed a lot of wealth to the Low family. The Durga Pooja festival is the best time to visit the palace.
Prinsep Ghat, Kolkata
This Ghat was built by Britishers in 1841 on the banks of river Hooghly. The Ghat is shown during Piku and Rana’s Kolkata visit. The Ghat is famous recreation spot amongst local thus used in many movies. It also gives you a magnificent view of the Vidyasagar Setu.
Cycle Ride, Kolkata
Bhashkor Banerjee is seen roaming on the streets of Kolkata on bicycle. He is shown enjoying his ride while driving through newly built cement roads and old narrow alleys. While shooting the sequence, 700 police men were controlling the crowd. But actually there were only 100 real police and other 700 were dummy police men hired for extra help. Amitabh drives the bicycle through Shyambazar Five-point crossing, SN Banerjee Road, Bishop Lefroy Road and Red Cross Road Place.
The Singara Kachori Shop, SN Banerjee Road, Kolkata
In the movie Bhashkor Banerjee is shown talking continuously about eating habits and his motion problems without getting bored. He discusses these topics as the matter of life and death. But when Rana advices him that he should not stop himself from eating anything or should not stop himself from doing different things, Bhashkor takes it too seriously. He explores the city through a bicycle ride and also buys Kachori.
The small shop from where he buys fresh Kachori, was not a set like the dhaba on the highway. The kachori shop is located on the SN Banerjee Road known as the Singara Kachori Shop. The shop became super famous in just 35 minutes because Amitabh bought kachoris from there. But even before the fame, the shop always saw busy days as its famous for other local delicacies too.