Director: Anusha Rizvi
Cast: Omkar Das Manikpuri, Raghubir Yadav, Malaika Shenoy, Nawazzuddin Siddiqui, Naseeruddin Shah
Music: Indian Ocean and others
Finally a Friday comes that shows some promise. Aamir Khan Productions bring Peepli Live to Indian audience. Be it the story that it has chosen or the big production house which has seldom failed recently, the film is creating quite a buzz.
Peepli Live is a political satire with some dark humour in it. In a nation where food stock rot on platforms in sacks, farmers are committing suicide as a way to redeem their family’s future.
Natha (Omkar) is one such farmer who is about to lose his land due to government debt. He has some options but all of them direct to the agonising death in a way or other. He can take money from some money-lender but why would one give him money. He doesn’t have any asset to back. Finally he gives a thought to suicide –a recourse that would entitle his family to claim benefits from government’s suicide aid scheme.
The wheel of time moves, election time arrives. Media, political bigwigs, bureaucrats, local king makers… all flock together to be a part of a live action. Will Natha commit suicide or won’t he? Question rages and story unfolds.
Music of the cinema is just awesome with some rustic, satirical and deep hitting words. Desh Mera, Zindagi se Dartey ho are two tracks by Indian Ocean which complement the story and carry the story forward. The songs show the futility of life and the courage to stand against all odds, being human. Nageen Tanvir has sung Chola mati ke ram which is again a commentary on the futility of life that no one has come to live forever. Raghubir Yadav has sung the Mahangai Dayan which is so contemporary and so hard hitting that opposition wanted to use it against the ruling UPA government (though the story would have been the same even if they ruled!!!)
Cinematography is again brilliant which takes us around the villages and shows the plight of farmers about whom we have only read and scarcely debated. The rural landscape and the farmers’ plight and agony that drive them to choose death has been caught great on the camera.
Direction and performances are better than lot of movies which come and go unnoticed. Veteran actors Raghubir Yadav, Naseeruddin Shah have left some great and long lasting performances. Omkar Das Manikpuri, from Habib Tanvir’s Naya Theatre, is a veteran in his own right. A great theatre artiste who is a treat to watch on celluloid as on the stage.
Overall it’s a must watch and films like this which have contemporary relevance should be able to generate some debate and boil down some blood inside us. A must watch.