REVIEW

Movie Review: Peepli [Live]

August 14, 2010
Gaurav Rathore

Let me set the tone of this review. Peepli [Live] is not a 'must watch' film. It's a good and different movie which you don't see often in Hindi cinema. A commendable effort by Aamir Khan Productions and Anusha Rizvi, the debutante director. Anyways, if you watch only 'must watch' these days, you will end up seeing only a couple of movies or worse, none in entire year!

The movie is a slapstick drama set in a sleepy village called Peepli where Natha, a destitute farmer who is about to lose his land, decides (or rather coaxed by his brother) to commit suicide in anticipation of handsome compensation from government. The film depicts how the plight of a poor farmer become the TRP catching fodder for media and a tool to go one up among politicians.

Natha is played by one Omkar Das Manikpuri an outsider to anything remotely related to Bollywood. He fits the character to perfection. He may have very little dialogues but he brilliantly portrays a simple man who is just overawed by the occasion and the attention he gets from everyone ranging from media and local touts to national politicians. On the flip side, Rizvi never tried to explore the psyche of a man who was hounded by thousands just to capture his suicide, live.

Three characters stand out in the movie. Shalini Vatsa as Natha's wife Dhaniya, Farrukh Jaffer as foul mouthed amma, and Vishal Sharma as television reporter Kumar Deepak (a cloned Deepak Chaurasia). Raghubir Yadav has done full justice to his part but a seasoned actor like him could have sleepwalked through a role which is his forte. All other characters fit the bill too and looked lively on the screen, be it TV reporter Nandita (Malaika Shenoy) or the local Journalist Rakesh (Nawazuddin). Almost entire cast has theatre background and you should not be amazed by their acting prowess. Such is the bar theatre people have set for themselves on big screen.

Though the director has tried to keep the movie short (a little under 100 min), squabble among the journalists for a news-bite becomes a bit repetitive after the first half. Dialogues are crisp and the local dialect and accent makes them even more interesting. Rizvi has brilliantly captured the mood of a village and superbly portrayed the TRP hungry media houses. On music front, you will surely enjoy 'Mehengai Dayan' sung by Raghubir Yadav in his rustic base voice.

Films like Peepli [Live] come few and far between as the producers today simply don't see any commercial viability in subjects like farmer suicide. It's a film which has shades of black humour. You surely won't be disappointed if you decide to visit a theatre near you to watch it.

Gaurav is a reluctant telecom engineer bitten by the entrepreneurial bug (but no intention to pursue MBA). He works as technical analyst for an MNC in Gurgaon. He hails from heritage city of Gwalior, MP. He loves to pen down his opinion on topics ranging from Politics to Movies and from Rakhi Sawant to India TV.
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