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Peepli Live

It is so much easier to write a bad review for a lousy film. Peepli Live left me speechless in the end. I was laughing all through it. But towards the end the tragedy hit me. Surprisingly the audience seemed very sensible.  I guess only those who were really interested and curious to know about Natha and the misfortune that struck his family came to the theatres in spite of the city having increasing numbers of swine flu cases.

Peepli Live is the story of a farmer who is compelled to end his life to claim the remuneration from the government to repay the loans and save his piece of land. The way the idea of suicide is planted in his head and the way he becomes the silent spectator of the whole political and media generated hullabaloo is the primary story. The secondary plots comprise of an Amma mouthing choicest gaalis to her Bahu, Natha's wife, the bond between the brothers Budhiya and Natha, the story of a local correspondent of Peepli who wants to make it big in the world of tele-journalism but is sensitive enough to notice the shortcomings of their own job and the stand of the politicians and the leaders of different parties who either want or didn't want Natha to commit suicide for their own selfish reasons.

The movie shows  the role of media persons who cover such events and sensationalise it into something which is no where close to the actual problem. The focus gets shifted from the plight of Natha and fellow farmers to the colour of his faeces on the day he disappeared. The fight between the news channels to be the first one to report the most useless bit of information did not seem unreal. We switch to any news channel at any time of the day (apart from prime time) and we see some non-news kind of a report with 'Breaking News' blinking on the bottom of the screen. We all have seen this media madness whether it was Abhishek-Aishwarya wedding or recently Dhoni's wedding where I happened to see the interview of the ghodi-waala. When a kid named Prince fell in a bore-well in Haryaana we were given snippets of news telling us how many biscuits the kid ate in how many hours. Or during the Mumbai terror attacks, the madness seen at the Taj, when one of the reporters actually said that he saw a terrorist escape from the Taj into the city creating more panic. When will the media take their role responsibly?

The farmer Mahto dies quietly in the same village which was the focus of all the news channels, completely unnoticed. Neither did he declare that he was going to die, nor was he the focus of the local politics. Nobody would want to know his story. Another news person dies in the fire accident and is mistaken to be Natha. Natha's family does not get the remuneration because he didn't kill himself but died in an accident. And poor Natha runs away to save his life while his widow and children stay in a situation not very different from before, may be even worse. Really sad.

I liked the the Des Mera and the Mehngai daayan songs . Earlier I have seen people hooting and whistling at Chayyan chayyan and All iz well, but the kind of response the Mehngai song had in the theatre was amazing. May be because it is Bhubaneswar and not Mumbai. I enjoyed it. But some of the songs towards the end of the movie were a little loud and I felt that they didn't go well with the theme of the movie. Anusha Rizvi the debutante director did a good job. I hope she makes more meaningful cinema in future. The producer did his best at promoting the movie. May be it was brand Aamir Khan that helped create an awareness for this movie. The price Rizvi paid for it was that she didn't get to speak much about the movie. That's ok. The movie speaks for itself. Must watch. 


AK said…
Good review.
I am sure many people were shocked to realize that this actually happens. sigh .... we have come so far from producing what we eat or at least know where food comes from!!
Shazia said…
You are right Arun. I hope this movie reaches all and creates awareness about the issue. A very well made movie it is.

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