IIM Calcutta

Social Issues

Oscar predictions & Collective Choice

By Arun Ramachandran for ‘C’nema Paradiso

A friend recently recommended a book written by James Surowiecki – The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations. The author talks about how as a collective we are good at arriving at better decisions than as single members of a group. On a related note, we, at ‘C’nema Paradiso, carried out a little exercise to gauge the mood before the Oscars at IIM-C and, more importantly, how well it could predict the Oscars. With 104 students voting, James Surowiecki would be proud on seeing the voting results.

If left to us we would have got right 4 out of the 6 categories which went for poll last week. However, we were not so keen on showing The Kings Speech the same love that the Oscar jury showed yesterday.
Results vs Predictions


No One Killed Jessica: A Review

By Shoaib
No One Killed Jessica
No One Killed Jessica, based on the much talked about Jessica Lall murder case stars Rani Mukherjee, Vidya Balan, new comer Myra Karn and a host of other actors in various supporting roles. Rajkumar Gupta’s latest brings back into the limelight, a case which captured the fancies of the media and the nation at large for a number of years.

Set in Delhi (reminded ad nauseum during the movie through an oft-repeated background score), the movie opens with the infamous event of bar tender Jessica Lall (Myra) getting shot by high profile politician’s son Manish Bharadwaj. Sabrina Lall (Vidya Balan) sets out to seek justice for her sister, only to be stalled in her efforts by powerful politicians, hostile witnesses and corrupt police officers. She is soon joined in her quest by hotshot, foul-mouth journalist Meera Gaity (Rani Mukherjee) and together they manage to arouse public outrage to the point where the administration gives in and justice is finally delivered.


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!

Peepli Live

By Arun Ramachandran

P Sainath, in one of his cynical observations on the corporate media once commented that there were truckloads of journalists covering the Lakme India Fashion Week, in Mumbai, but only a handful covering the farmer suicides in Vidarbha a few hours away. Years have passed by, neither has Sainath changed nor has the Indian mainstream media.

But interestingly, Aamir Khan has produced a movie – Peepli Live, “a satire on the farmers’ suicides and subsequent media and political response”. Slated for release on August 13th, Peepli Live is being marketed heavily. It is already the first film from India to compete in the Sundance Film Festival in the US. With music score composed by
Indian Ocean, Aamir is not leaving any stone unturned. They have come up with a slick website – http://www.peeplilivethefilm.com/ It is a must visit for anyone remotely interested in Film Marketing.

The movie is directed by a débutante, Anusha Rizvi, an obscure lady. I have exhausted Google search, but couldn’t find any valuable info on her. The cast includes Raghubhir Yadav and Naseerudin Shah.

Meanwhile, controversies never seem to leave Aamir. He had to take responsibility for delayed payment to a musical group from a village in Madhya Pradesh for using their folk song. It has also been reported that BJP has asked permission for using a song from Peepli Live for their anti price rise campaign. Interesting!!!

It would be nice to see a low budget, off-beat movie making it big in Bollywood. But after all, its about an issue the urban middle-class little cares about. No marks for guessing whether it would stay on theaters for more than a fortnight.