It was high time public realized how 'news is created and transformed and annihilated' by the hordes of news channels. Peepli live is a practical joke about this issue. Remember reading headlines like "BREAKING NEWS: The ghost that hampered the lives of villagers caught live!" " Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan busy smsing in shoot" "The dog that barked at Dingri daku"? Ever watched what's the fuss about the breaking news... I have, just to laugh myself the hell out of my hectic life. You should really try it, it's very stress relieving. The whole one hour program of breaking news about the 'ghost caught alive' will reveal only two things: a dirty deserted village road and people who fanatically explain the 'near to death experience' with 'the ghost'. So why wasn't the ghost captured on camera, as was promised: The ghost was camera shy! (ha ha ha)
Peepli live is a beautifully written parody on issue of the media hullabaloo created about the 'live suicide' of a pauper farmer. A family of farmers (two brothers played by Omkar Das and Raghuvir Yadav) have lost their piece of land to the bank. In their aimless search to save their land, they stumble upon the news that farmers who commit suicide are awarded money from the government. The two brothers, though at first seem uninterested finally succumb to the financial pressures created by their unemployment. Natha (Omkar Das) is cleverly blackmailed by his brother Budhia (Raghuvir Yadav) and volunteers to die. The news of Natha's suicide is picked up by a local newspaper and spreads like fire to all media channels.
The rest of the story revolves around the make and break of Natha's suicidal sensational news: how a nameless person like Natha suddenly becomes a nation's hero and is published on the front cover of Times international. It also shows us glimpses of the political interests and interventions with life of this commoner. Alongside runs the stories of a honest aspiring journalist Rakesh (Nowaz), Natha's wife : the bold daughter in law (Shalini Vatsa), Natha's mother: the ever nagging mother in law (Farrukh Jaffar) and an unnamed old pauper farmer who does not give up his hopes but continues to work by selling mud from the fields. The character which touches everyone's heart is the last unsung hero, his indifference to the whole chaos is really worth appreciating.
The screenplay is wonderfully natural and fresh. No exaggeration, whatsoever! Hats off to the first time director:Anusha rizvi. The performances of the whole cast is praise worthy: Natha's innocence, Bhudia's shrewdness, Amma's fiery tongue, Dhaniya's blazing conversations, Rakesh's enthusiasm, Nanditha's appetite for news and the whole village atmosphere makes 'Peepli live' come alive.
The movie definitely is food for thought. And the age old question of agriculture versus industrialization rings a bell, yet again...