Director - Anusha Rizvi
Producer - Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao, Ronnie Screwvala
Cast - Omkar Das Manikpuri, Raghubir Yadav, Malaika Shenoy, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shalini Vatsa, Farrukh Jaffer, Naseeruddin Shah, Vishal Sharma Sitaram Panchal and others.
Music - Indian Ocean, Brij Mandal, Bhadwai, Nageen Tanvir, Ram Sampat
Cinematography - Shanker Raman
Editor - Hemanti Sarkar
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Anusha Rizvi
Release Date - 13th August 2010
The name Aamir Khan attached to any film in any possible manner creates a huge buzz. Peepli Live is his fourth production after Lagaan, Taare Zameen Par and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. The first two are 2 of the best films ever made in the country and the last one was a fun romantic comedy which worked wonders at the box office. So when he comes up with a project like Peepli Live, which has literally no stars, with a debutante director and a completely offbeat script, the curiosity levels certainly go pretty high. And yes, Aamir hasnt gone wrong this time also as he delivers a fantastic, quality product from his production house yet again, which could easily feature among the best Hindi films made in recent times.
Official Synopsis - ‘Peepli Live’ is a satire, which revolves around a villager from Central India called Natha,his brother Budhia and their family. The family is about to lose their land because they are unable to repay a loan, when, they hear of a government programme which offers the family of any farmer committing suicide a compensation of rupees 100,000. The older brother convinces his sibling into agreeing to commit suicide. This sets in motion a chain of events which finds Natha in the eye of a storm. The local big wigs, the state government, high ranking bureaucrats, federal ministers and the national media all become stakeholders in the mad circus that erupts. This is the story of India today. Rural society, the bureaucracy, media, politics and life . .
The electronic media is strongly criticized in the film and shows the heights that the journalists go to get that one exclusive story, before their competitors. One of the reporters of a Hindi news channel in the movie even goes to the extent of analysing Natha's faeces for the sake of a story. Not one bit of exaggeration, as the electronic media today are already doing much more than this for the sake of TRPs. But there is at least one character among the journalists who genuinely feels about the issue and refrains from sensationalizing it after a point. The scene where the local reporter Rakesh and the high-profile English reporter Nandita talk about the media circus that is happening, is perhaps the best written scene in the film. The director surely knows the inside workings of the media, having been a journalist herself and has taken some fantastic digs at two of the most popular TV reporters in the country - one in Hindi and one in English. The politicians are not spared either. All the different games they play to capitalize on the issue are brought out very well. The movie does not try to give a solution to the issue. Instead, it makes us think about how sad the state of affairs in our country is, while entertaining us through some smart comedy. The climax was perfect and there couldnt have been a better culmination for a film like this.
Omkar Das Manikpuri is the life of this film. Even though he hardly has any dialogues, Natha's desperation, confusion, fear and a plethora of emotions is brought out through his expressions mostly, rather than depending on dialogues to do the same. Raghubir Yadav is first-rate as the manipulative Budhiya who forces Natha to make the decision of committing suicide. Malaika Shenoy as the fierce, competitive English reporter is spot on. Nawaazuddin Siddiqui as Rakesh, the sole sensible person among the entire media circus is excellent. Vishal Sharma as the over-the-top Hindi reporter Kumar Deepak who is willing to go to any heights (or lows) for a story is fantastic. Naseeruddin Shah as the shrewd agricultural minister is as usual, amazing. And two of the film's best performances come from the bed-ridden, foul-mouthed mother of Natha played by Farrukh Jaffer and her nagging bahu played by Shalini Vatsa. Eacn and every one among the rest of the cast is brilliant and not for one second do you feel that those people are actually acting.
Anusha's script is tight, concise and has a fantastic flow throughout. There are so many jokes that you have to concentrate really well to get all of them. The dialect spoken is tough to follow in the beginning but you get acquainted to it as the movie progresses. And yea, there are so many expletives in the dialogues, but that makes them more real. Anusha makes a confident debut and delivers a film which even the most experienced of filmmakers would find difficult to make. And thanks to a producer like Aamir Khan who makes sure that this film gets all the attention that it deserves, which might not have happened without his name being attached to it. We need more producers like him who can identify good cinema, invest money in making them and make people come and watch them.
Shanker Raman's cinematography is superb, giving the video feel and the docu-drama feel wherever necessary. Hemanti Sarkar's editing is almost perfect. The earthy music by various artistes suits the theme of the film very well. 'Des Mera' by Indian Ocean is brilliant, so is 'Mehngai Dayain', the folk song which talks about the rising expenses.
On the whole, Peepli Live is a film that has to be watched. Its a film that makes us laugh at ourselves as a country. Its a film which makes us think about so many issues. Its a film which is hilarious from the word go. Its a film which marks the debut of a fantastic filmmaker called Anusha Rizvi. Its a film which reaffirms that Aamir Khan is the best producer a film can get in our country. Its a film filled with fantastic performances. Its a a very important film which deserves a tax-free status. And finally, its one of the best films that has come out in recent times. More than perfect to watch during the Independence Day weekend.
Rating - 4/5