Good film, better promotion…
Whattay debut bhaiyya… Anusha Rizvi’s first directorial venture, Peepli Live is bahut badhiya! Congratulations to producer, Aamir Khan for backing a project like this and to the promotions team for making it a big success. By attributing the film’s box-office success to promotions (read marketing and public relations), I am not taking away from its good content but just highlighting the contribution it makes to help a film. A few weeks ago, a brilliant film released called ‘Udaan’; unfortunately there were not many people in the cinema halls due to in-sufficient promotional support. Similarly, Shyam Benegal’s ‘Well Done Abba’ also didn’t set the cash registers ringing despite being a good film. In Peepli Live’s case, everything worked out well; after doing the festival rounds, the buzz around the film was kept alive till it got a wide scale release this weekend. I hope that after Peepli Live’s success, producers and corporate houses will put their money behind good content and not only big star cast led duds.
Coming back to the film, Peepli Live is a satire on the issue of farmers’ suicide. The film effectively captures the government’s apathy towards this serious issue and media, especially broadcast media’s opportunist behaviour. The film is smartly written (Rizvi) and well performed by the actors, mostly theatre artistes and newcomers.
Peepli Live is about a poor farmer named Natha who decides to commit suicide so that his family can benefit through a government compensation scheme. Natha’s half-hearted decision gives an opportunity to our ‘exclusive’ hungry media to cover a suicide ‘live’, right before the elections. Keeping the issue in focus, Rizvi’s smart writing ensures that the film doesn’t drag like a documentary but presents the whole situation in a light manner. Sharp dialogue and compelling performances by the cast make the film hilarious and disturbing in equal parts. Omkar Das Manikpuri as Natha and Raghuvir Yadav as Budhia (Natha’s brother) are good but the real winners are the caustic women in Natha’s household, his wife Dhania (Shalini Vatsa) and the venom spewing mother, Amma (Farookh Zafar).
Music by Indian Ocean also deserves a special mention; not your typical filmy score, the music goes well with the mood of the film and is quite enjoyable. Shankar Raman’s cinematography is simple and doesn’t glamourise the real look and feel of the film. Editing (Hemanti Sarkar) could’ve been a bit tighter in the second half as the film gets a bit repetitive.
Overall, Peepli Live is a good film that entertains and at the same time questions us about our ignorance of the real issues affecting our nation. Ironically, the media coverage around the film matches the madness shown in the film itself; check out some of the stories I came across in the last few days:
- Natha wants to meet Katrina Kaif
- Not Katrina, Natha now wants to meet Deepika Padukone
- Natha gets gifts for Deepika and Katrina
- Property prices go up in Peepli
- Aamir unable to go to Peepli due to security concerns
- Aamir did not interfere during the making of the film; only visited the sets once, etc
My rating: * * * ½ Three and a half stars on five
– Shrey Khetarpal