Culture

Juhi Chaturvedi on Piku

...father-daughter relationships and making cinema about constipation

Her 2012 debut, Vicky Donor, earned Chaturvedi early commercial success, every major writing award that year, and a strong bout of impostor syndrome. “Many offers came my way, but I didn’t touch my laptop for a very long time,” says the 40-year-old, who wrote her first screenplay while working a full-time advertising job and being mom to a one-year-old. Fortunately, for her second, which releases today, she’s found a subject that intrigues her as much as sperm donation: constipation. “The first question any doctor always asks is ‘How are your motions?’ Piku is about how a dysfunctional family deals with this universal problem.” 

The film, for which  Chaturvedi reunites with Vicky Donor director Shoojit Sircar, explores the oft-volatile relationships of fathers and daughters. “Children become responsible for how their parents experience old age,” she says. “In the film, Piku [Deepika Padukone] is coping with her own desires and the pressures her father [Amitabh Bachchan] is putting on her.”

Chaturvedi had relentless daily squabbles with her own dad to draw from. “He’s been living with me ever since my mother passed away,” she explains. “I watched my grandfather give him a lot of grief while growing up; now he behaves in exactly the same way.” Rather than heartbreaking though, Chaturvedi finds her predicament amusing. “If you can remove yourself from the situation, you are able to see just how funny it all is.”