Peepli [Live] Movie Review: ‘Peepli [Live]’: Sharp Satire, Keen Track
A deadly issue... hah, apt adjective... bags a dose of humour. A satire on farmer suicides, 'Peepli [Live]' is a sharp and insightful film that serves as an eye opener to the sorry plight of farmers in the interiors of India, at a time when the government seemingly introduces multiple schemes to help them, but to no avail. Going a step further, 'Peepli [Live]' also derides the insensitive media when the search for a story over rides all humanity. Natha, played by Omkar Das Manikpuri, is the protagonist of the film, broke and under tremendous debt, who learns of the fact that he is worth more dead than alive, as the government has promised a lac of rupees to the family of any farmer who commits suicide. His brother Budhia, played by Raghubir Yadav, convinces him to make the ultimate sacrifice for his family's honour and well being, and Natha reluctantly concedes. What ensues is a circus where media makes this suicide event a high drama television saga that threatens the government, awakens the opposition, and divides the central and state governments, and the clown of the circus, Natha, becomes a national hero cum 'tamasha.' Between poking fun at 'yojnaas' and showcasing the apathy of the media in a hilarious manner, the narrative highlights being how Natha taking all the callous treatment meted out to him, turns sensational and all important piece of news! 'Peepli [Live]' takes the unchartered cinematic path, reminding us of the dismal state of our farming industry and the reason why so many farmers end up taking their own lives or migrate to cities and take up cheap labour jobs. Only a producer like Aamir Khan could make 'Peepli [Live]' a reality as a major motion picture release, garnering so much attention and serving a cause in the process. While Shanker Raman's cinematography is as realistic and true to narrative as possible, it also imparts a certain rural texture that draws you into the world of Natha in a big screen escapist manner that is most evident in the dream sequence of Natha on horseback, dreamlike but rural and of the 'mitti' of India. Add to this the music of Indian Ocean, with 'des mera' being the shining light of the sounding track, and you feel drawn into a world that is unique and every bit India, as possible. Manikpuri as Natha is a fine reality enactment that would bring any Method actor to shame, and Raghubir is in his finest elements as the elder brother who makes the suicide 'tamasha' a reality; in other lesser but integral roles, Naseeruddin Shah is his veteran self as politician Salim Kidwai, with Yugal Kishore as Chief Minister Ram Yadav and Sitaram Panchal as Bhai Thakur for company. Farrukh Jaffer from Lucknow as the 'bidi' smoking 'amma' of the two farmer brothers, brings eclectic humour to the proceedings, and Malaika Shenoy as Nandita Mallik who first arrives upon this media story are most noticeable. The only shortcoming of this satire is that it fails to do justice to the enormity of the nature of the subject it tackles; a tragedy that is a black spot on everything that is India? be it the government norms, the legal system, or the people's overall apathy towards the plight of the farmers who choose death over life. It is too sensitive and serious a problem to be fleshed out through a satire with laughs thrown in, as the tragedy is immense, and the consequences all consuming. Anusha Rizvi's script and direction manage the laughs, but does not delve into the heart of the problem that would bring tears to the most hardened of viewers. The emotional upheaval of the viewer through this satire is rather limited, owing to the matter of fact direction. Your heart cries out for farmers and searches for the pain, and stifles all the laughs that a humorous narrative like this raises...
Release Date : 13 August 2010
Banner : -
Cast : Vishal Sharma, Sitaram Panchal, Raghubir Yadav, Masood Akhtar, Naseeruddin Shah, Avijit Dutt, Aamir Bashir, Dan Husain, Omkar Das Manikpuri, Malaika Shenoy, Shalini Vatsa, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Farukh Jaffer, Vishal O Sharma, Maxima Basu, Ajay Singha