In a brave treat inspired by a true story that was read by the director, Vinod Kapri (Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho), four years ago, Pihu asked the question, “What happens if a toddler is left alone at home?”. Combine it with the negligence in turning off some electronic equipment, creating a scenario explaining that helped slap us through case studies regarding parenting.
In order to avoid spoilers, I can only say that this film tells a two-year-old girl named Pihu (Myra Vishwakarma) who is left alone at home without proper food supplies, as well as an iron and a running tap. As the duration goes on, we begin to know the whereabouts of Pihu’s parents, also the reason he is alone, in the story which also talks about household conflict, including its impact on children.
Taking two hours of shooting every day with three cameras placed on location, Pihu has a minimalist dialogue. We only hear a few telephone conversations and a little interaction outside the Pihu house. Furthermore, besides the titular character and the mother (played by Prerna Sharma, Myra’s mother in the real world), there is no character whose face is shown directly. Either just a foot that appears, or a sound that is heard.
‘Pihu’ is a case study first, thriller later. Vinod Kapri, who also acted as a writer, was even willing to change the manuscript several times to suit the behavior of his little actress, in order to capture images as natural as possible. And the effort was successful. We can feel the freedom given to Myra, where in contrast to many little actors, she is not seen pretending or carrying out instructions. And most importantly, Pihu behaves as a toddler behaves if placed in a variety of situations.
The key word is “toddler”. Because the protagonist is a toddler, things are usually annoying, because it is a form of ignorance for adult characters, here is a reasonableness based on the typical curiosity of a child. We also can sit back and enjoy the film, Well, actually “relaxing” is not the right choice, because the existence of toddlers as the main character makes our concerns and worries multiply. Increasingly tense because the ability of children to solve problems is certainly not as good as adults. What is for us everyday (heating food, opening a refrigerator) is a challenging adventure for them.