IIM Calcutta

Peepli [Live] Revisited


By Pranava Boyidapu

The movie that was marketed incredibly for its satirical take on the plights of farmers!

I had high hopes. I walked into the theatre after reading a whole lot of reviews and they all said good things that are bad, like “..cuts deep and lets it bleed..” and someone who compared the Amma to the old lady in Pather Panchali.

From the beginning, the movie turned out to be an over the top comedy. If the press talking of Natha’s potty and trying to figure out his state of mind by the color of his potty is “satirical”, then probably the movie is a satire. But to me it was not.  I feel that the director took on more than she could handle; the satires on farmers, on the press and on the politicians.

Amma’s constant screams were a desperate attempt to bring in a believable atmosphere of a village setting. Rakesh witnessing the life and death of an old soil seller who literally dug his own grave was a weak attempt at a heart rendering story on the sidelines which is a requirement in a movie that claims to be heart rendering. Divya Dutta did a better job in ‘Delhi 6’. The climax of the press finding out Natha’s location and everyone running hither and thither reminded me of an old telugu comedy when everyone was running around an abandoned mansion in search of money at the movie’s climax.

Peepli [Live] is a startling example of what happens when someone tries to make a film for the film festivals and praise and neither for the love of film-making nor for the belief in the cause behind the story.

A few noteworthy characters:

  • Dhaniya, who very effectively handled her role and was the most believe character among all
  • Nasseruddin Shah as the agriculture minister , who with his charming self  can dodge any question with ease
  • The young officer, who wants to take some action and drops in on the secretary of agriculture every now and then
  • Nandita Malik, who was not too bad, though she tried to give a very impactful speech to rakesh and failed miserably
  • Rakesh, the young journalist who brought Natha to light and tried to react emotionally to the death of the soil seller (it was not his fault that the soil seller was not covered in reasonable detail for his death to strike the emotional cords of the viewers)

All in all it’s a one-time watch on a boring Saturday to make you laugh a little and doze off a bit in the middle, if you go with no expectations and if haven’t read any other reviews. In fact, may be after my review you might even like it. It’s all about expectations you see!

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2 responses

  1. Priyanka

    I agree that the scene with potty was over the top, but the movie itself was not. In fact, the movie was not even ABOUT farmer suicides. That was just a ruse. It was not even about the sensationalism of the media. That was another ruse. If you look closely, you’ll see that the movie is a depiction of the wide gap between the rich and the poor. Casually throwing in headlines like ‘Delhi rises higher’ while a small-time reporter goes to cover a story in a forgotten village, the scenes shifting between the impoverished streets of Peepli to high-tech offices of the media in the capital at the beginning of the movie and the one scene at the end starting from Natha’s house through the streets of Peepli, ending up with shots of the wide roads and the metro in NCR – all of them say that beneath the light exterior, this is an extremely angry film. And the political angle, although it gets repetitive, is intended at holding the bureaucracy responsible for the poor implementation of well-intended Government schemes. One of the most wonderful moments in the movie was when I was trying to figure out what ‘Lal Bahadur’ was until it made an appearance!

    On the whole, this is not a movie intended for just some light entertainment and I am sorry if your expectations were set that way.

    August 23, 2010 at 8:42 am

  2. Pingback: On Majoriticism, Reviews, Peepli Live, Normal Curve and More « 'C'nema Paradiso

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