Enjoyable satire on rural India made for urban elite

Director: Anusha Rizvi
Producer: Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao
Cinematography: Shanker Raman
Editor: Hemanti Sarkar

Peepli  Live is a satire on politics vis a vis farmer suicides and politics, in the process making digs at the media, especially the electronic media.

While news based films generally prove to be drab and boring, ending as hyped up documentaries, the mainstay of Peepli Live is its script, generously sprinkled with humourous scenes and dialogue.

Standing on the premise that the government does nothing to solve the debt-ridden farmers‘ problems who, cornered and exasperated, commit suicide, funnily enough, there is a Rs 100,000 compensation for the family who has lost its breadwinner!! When they fail to redeem their mortgaged land, brothers Raghubir Yadav and Omkar Das are in a quandary. As one of them suggests he commit suicide so that the land could be freed from lien, a stringer for a local newspaper overhears their conversation and as for their bad luck, is ready to carry this piece of news in his paper.

As the news spreads like wild fire, all roads including the electronic media lead to Peepli. What ensues is a circus called vote bank and TRPs. This farmer has a police escort and TV cameras follow him even when he wants to relieve himself and the media even has his poop analysed to tell the viewers his state of mind!

Peepli Live has its strong points in its script and dialogue. However, the ending is tame and unsatisfying, making the whole exercise much ado about nothing.

While director Anusha Rizvi has treated the film in great detail, the film‘s casting wins more than half its battle. First timer Omkar Das Manikpuri seems made for the role and performs as naturally as one could. Raghubir Yadav easily blends into the story and ambience. Actors Shalini Vaysa and Farrukh Jaffer are very good and so are Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Malaika Shenoy and Vishal O Sharma. Music is functional, its appeal limited to the film. Photgraphy is commendable.

Peepli Live has a genre of its own and if any film came close, it was Main Azaad Hoon (Amitabh Bachchan) which in turn was inspired by Hollywood hit Meet John Doe, about politicians, media and the common man.

Peepli Live is an enjoyable satire on rural India made for urban elite - the discerning multiplex audience.

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