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Review by : C. Karthik
Starring: Omkar Das Manikpuri, Raghubir Yadav, Shalini Vatsa, Malaika Shenoy, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Direction: Anusha Rizvi
Music: Indian Ocean, Nageen Tanvir, Ram Sampat
Production: Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao

Movies are seen as entertainers by most. Some feel the necessity to convey a message, tell the public that movie is not just about fun but also about a little bit of education as well. In a world of fantasies where Supermen and Spidermen are
  Peepli Live
appreciated by all, Peepli wakes you up from your dreams and says out loud "Welcome to reality". Debutant director Anusha Rizvi definitely deserves a pat on the back for taking this subject and getting all the pieces together in a nonchalant way.

What is Peepli all about? It is about the ever springing subject of farmer suicide. Ever springing is a slightly over-dosed word here as it is publicized only during elections and during other political crisis. Omkar Das and Raghuveer Yadhav are brothers whose only worry is to repay an unsettled loan. Fearing that their land may be auctioned off, they find all ways possible to get the money. The brothers decide that suicide is the only option as they can get the mandatory compensation of 1 lakh from the government.

Natha (Omkar) decides to commit suicide and a local journalist eavesdrops and covers this in a local newspaper. This comes to the media's knowledge. The whole event snowballs further and everyone involved wants to have a piece of the pie. If the news flashes "Live suicide coverage", the politicians want to gain mileage by pulling Natha to their own party circus. Natha and the family are just spectators in the middle of the whole circus. The movie matures and hits you hard when there is a reference to Hori Mahato, the famished farmer, who digs his own grave.

Nobody could have handled this sensitive subject so well. It seems that wit and sarcasm are the only way to expose this shame to the world. Anusha definitely has us in splits with witty one liners and remarks. It is hard to accept her as a newcomer as she leaves her touch in many places in the movie. One scene to note is the puppet dance which tells us the sorry state of authorities. Anusha has an eye for perfection, much like her producer Aamir Khan, and this shows in her deft handling of the subject, the camera and the editing.

It is a very thin line between directing a documentary and a feature film. Anusha has very clearly understood and has walked the thin line without fuss. You don’t get to see actors in the movie. Omkar as Natha, his wife Dhaniya, the Amma, Raghuveer, Rakesh, the journalist, are all characters in the unfolding story. Even the blue pump given to Natha by the local government assumes a role in the movie. Anusha, being a journalist herself, has made sure that media persons are shown the way they actually are. Very brilliant handling this. Even the songs have been neatly used.

Yes, it is about farmer suicide. But it is not as simple as you read it. It is a national crisis and it is only because of Aamir Khan, a movie like this will get attention. Anusha does not try to politicize the issue nor does she want to preach a message. It is to make us aware that we are also living in a country where agriculture is the backbone of our economy. What will happen if all the farmers migrate to cities in our country? Do we even know that 80 lakh farmers have migrated from villages to cities from 1991 to 2001?

Overall, Peepli Live is a smartly directed movie which makes you laugh but hits you hard when you realize that we are so ignorant about an ugly truth which may assume bigger proportions in the future.

Verdict: Peepli Live - Your attention please!!!

Tags :Peepli Live, Anusha Rizvi, Aamir Khan, Indian Ocean, Nageen Tanvir, Ram Sampat
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