Peepli [Live] is the story of Natha, a poor farmer who decides to commit suicide so that the government can award his family compensation, which will save his ancestral land. A small local TV journalist finds out about Natha's upcoming suicide and publishes it in a local newspaper. With elections around the corner, the media lands up in Peepli and soon the whole issue gets blown out of proportion.
One media party threatens Natha that he must commit suicide while another says he must live. Journalists bombard the uneducated and timid Natha and follow him to no avail. Peepli becomes a lively town with so many outsiders as the media speaks to the innocent villagers about the heroic Natha. Rural society has been a piece in a chess game for long for politicians of India but Peepli Live truly shows the extent to which our politicians can go to win their elections. Television sets are gifted to Natha's family but one wonders what good is such a product for a family that needs to meet its basic survival needs first.
Perhaps the strongest and best lesson of the film comes from the omnipresent media which viciously blows everything out of proportion for higher TRPs. While providing many laughs, the film portrays the media's habit to bombard as well as exaggerate issues. Natha's death becomes a game as at one moment reporters jump back and forth between Natha dying and not dying. Does Nathu really die or not? Well we leave that for you to discover when you watch the film on screen…
From the amazingly scripted dialogues that make one laugh from the beginning to the end to the immensely talented actors that bring the village life on screen, Peepli [Live] is an excellent film that not only entertains but also teaches many lessons. From the viciousness of the politicians and media to the struggles of the poor farmers of India for basic needs of food and shelter, Peepli [Live] is a winner in bringing on to screen some very important lessons. And yes how can one forget the old-age lesson that we always hear, 'life moves on'. Life does move on and so does the media, as people's memories are short lived. Thus though Peepli becomes alive due to the issue of Nathu's suicide, once the issue is resolved the media disappears and Peepli once again becomes a forgotten village. One must question the profession of journalism, as the chase for TRPs is malicious. Like a herd of cattle following each other, media chooses to bring to screen a comical view of the open field bathrooms of the villagers instead of a more serious issue covering the death of another impoverished farmer in the village who was found dead in the midst of pot holes that he used to dig.
The folk music in the film brings the village to life and the very popular 'Mehangayee Daayan' is sure to call for whistles in theatres. Short few line songs are apt in the script and the peppy music makes the film livelier. The strong language in the film may not be suitable for young children but the diction and choice of words is apt to portray the ordinary villager's life style. Direction by Anusha Rizvi is par excellence!
The greatest pillar of the film is the team of actors, which Aamir Khan Productions has put together for Peepli Live. Each and every villager is so convincing that by the end of the film, even metro audiences will connect with the impoverished farmers. Nathu feels like someone you may know and one feels his confusion and pain. Manikpuri as Nathu has definitely done a brilliant job. Malaika Shenoy as the television reporter and Shalini Vasta as Nathu's wife are amazing. And what can one say about the bed ridden mother's character played by Farrukh Jaffer – she is truly exceptional! Naseeruddin Shah does not have much screen space though he does justice to the limited footage given to him in the film!
Overall Peepli [Live] is a must watch for audiences! A complete entertainer with some brilliant lessons, Peepli Live is sure to make a space in the hearts of audiences worldwide!
Author & Editor: Dolly Tilani Bhatter