Skip to main content

Peepli Live

It's celebration time when we see a meaningful film being made in India that is devoid of the usual rubbish mushiness and pop corn romance that makes little sense and call for unnecessary flood of tears that seem to go nowhere. Or, say, when they pick up a realistic subject and attempt to allegedly make a story out of it. In an industry that turns West every time it falls short of original ideas, here's a movie that is both contemporary and as original as it gets. The trick in the Indian context, however, is to pick up what appears on the surface to be a typical tear-jerker, possibly a social issue (something that our TV serials amply do these days) and turn into a product that keeps the histrionics at a bare minimum, appeals to a wider audience and doesn't sound preachy. (I caught the morning 10.40 am show at Pune's Inox (one of my favourite theatres) and the hall  was about 20% occupied, mostly by young college kids. They were having a ball of a time, laughing merrily at  the various twists, turns and dialogues.) That, in a nutshell, is Peepli Live, a film made by debutant director Ms Anusha Rizvi, who was earlier a journalist.

The story tracks two farmer brothers Natha and Budhiya, in a fictitious village called Peepli, who lose their land to a bank when they cannot repay the bank's loan. Getting to know about how the government compensates the families of those farmers who commit suicides, the brothers decide that Natha would commit suicide so that the government pays his family (Natha's wife, three children and mother; Budhiya is single and lives with them) so that atleast the family can live. The media comes to know of this story and very soon there is a circus of frenzied media chasing the story scrambling upon each other to cover what appears to be the country's first Live farmer suicide (hence, the name Peepli Live) on camera and politicians trying to get a mileage out of this awkward situation. 

It's a serious subject, yet, not for one second does Peepli Live gets preachy. The film is not a documentary; it's a satire. It's a dark comedy about how the farmer brother duo aim to make a quick buck to ensure their family lives to die another day. The movie takes a satirical look at the the political class and the media. The opposition and the ruling State party falls head over heals to either take advantage of this situation or do a massive PR to save their faces. The media is only too happy to cover every aspect of the beleaguered farmer family, dissecting every little detail surrounding Natha, breaking news, and all of that; even answering nature's call becomes a big headache. It literally is a circus out there. It takes a journalist to show glimpses of how the media can chase a story, hook or by crook. 

The script is tight and the screenplay is fantastic. The performances are superb and it's a wonderful sight to see raw talented actors from little known theatre groups turn in such marvelous performances. Clearly, the best film of 2010 so far. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

US-64 DRAWS TO A CLOSE; WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

As the country oldest mutual fund scheme, now US-64 Bonds, are set be redeemed, it’s tough to find an equally alternative investment. There are some that come closeThe oldest mutual fund scheme in India, Unit Trust of India (UTI)’ Unit Scheme – 64 (US-64), will soon be no more. After more than 40 years of existence, curtains will fall on the US-64 bonds that mature on 31 May 2008. UTI has already sent out letters to all bond-holders about the redemption; investors are told to submit their original certificates, take their money back and leave.

For investors like Kolkata-based, Kumaresh Mukherjee, 72 it’s the end of an era. Soon after he retired from Philips India, he invested his provident fund corpus in fixed – return instruments like company fixed deposits. An electrical engineer by profession, in 1995 he also invested Rs 12 lakh or around one-third of his retirement corpus in the erstwhile US-64. After years of above-average returns, then trapped doors and turmoil that shook the Ind…

Pay Credit Card Bills Through ATMs

Tired of being ignored by ICICI Bank credit cards by being left out of their premium services despite being a loyal customer, I got myself a new credit card by HDFC Bank. It's another thing that HDFC Bank promised me a gold card with a higher spending limit, but then threatened to give me a silver card. When I strongly protested to their ways, they issued me a gold card, but with a much-lower-than-promised spending limit. I think the credit card companies ought to be made more accountable through stricter laws that are widely publicised (I recently read an RBI advertisement in the paper that if a credit card company rejects your application for a credit card, it has to give the reasons in writing; I never knew that!!!) and ought to made to pay for promising one thing, but delivering something totally different. SBI Cards too chased me for a month last year and promised to give me a platinum card with a high spending limit. What I finally got was a much-watered down Gold Card with …

My first ever Rajdhani experiance

As a kid, the Mumbai-New Delhi Rajdhani Express used to be this legend that I dreamt often. Although train travel was an integral part of my childhood, Rajdhani remained a distant dream. A dream that only zipped past me at 120 km/hr overtime I saw it. A dream that announced it arrival from a great, great distance by the sounds of twin diesel locomotives and its generator cars at either sides of the rake. A sound that was as intimidating to rail enthusiasts like me as a Bullet motorcycle is to a biker. In those days, it used to be hauled by two diesel locomotives so that it wouldn't need to spend much time at Vadodra station changing its locomotives. One of the two diesel locos would detach itself from the train and the other one who simply haul it al the way to Delhi. When I used to go to Valsad during some of my summer holidays at my cousin's house, it was a ritual. Take a picnic basket, leave the house at sharp 6, go to the yard just before the station, position ourselves on…