Sunday, August 22, 2010


This is not a movie review.

There is Earth. There is life. There is soul. All this makes Peepli [LIVE]- not just a movie but life itself. I felt as though I have steeped into real lives of those people on the screen. As though all that was happening in front of me. None of them in the movie were acting. They were living.

Natha and Buddhiya, two brothers, who are about to loose their land- happen to hear about a scheme that pays compensation of Rs 1 Lakh to the family of farmers who commit suicide. Budhdhiya and Natha discuss and Budhdhiya plants into Natha the idea of committing suicide so that his wife and children can benefit by the money!

It is a serious theme. Very serious. But the plot had been handled in such a hilarious manner- Kudos to Anusha Rizvi, the director and the team of Peepli [LIVE]!

“Coming back after the break- Shilpa Shetty confirms that she did not have an affair with Prince William”!

Says a news bulletin report in the movie- that makes us feel- Is THIS the kind of news that we watch all day long? A female news reader- who does a perfect Barkha Dutt, says to her superior- “You know all these TRPs are fake numbers”! And he replies- “They are real for our sponsors”! This is what the news industry is built on. The scoop. The hype. And news? Sadly no. A competitor channel meanwhile gets another scoop- “Saif Ali Khan kisses a classmate in his 8th standard and the girl is still madly in love with him”! India Shining- really!

A local reporter- Rakesh, who accidentally comes across Natha’s suicide plans, publishes the news in the local news paper- and there begins the whole drama!

News reporters flock into the quiet Peepli like hungry jackals, in search of story- pandemonium!

As the quiet and timid Natha slowly moves around the house the camera follows him all the time- we see reporters inside his house- everywhere. A reporter says- “As you can see, we are standing RIGHT inside Nathaji’s house, and we can see here his clothes hanging…”! Is THIS the kind of news we watch all day long?

Natha, his brother Budhdhiya, his wife, his kids, his mother- they are all real some ones, who make news each day on TV- yet they are just nobodies! We see there- how a story evolves through the journalists- out of scratch and the real characters of the story are just silent spectators of the entire drama happening around- the characters who have nothing to say, while the narrators never shut up!

A politics that is real. Minister who relies on P.A s for schemes that can make Natha take back his decision- and P.A s who are- bureaucrats. I was so reminded of BBC’s “Yes Minister”! Couldn’t help laughing! When the opposition gets the clue- they land there with a huge garland for Natha and a colour TV. A scene shows Natha’s irritated wife complaining about TV and other “gifts” occupying space unnecessarily in the house.

Journalists who can stoop down to any levels. Politicians who want to make issues out of non issues and play cheap politics. People- blinded by the media glitz and glamour go out on candle light marches with banners reading “Brave Natha”! This is what is making news!

Budhdhiya as Natha’s brother is remarkable. Natha’s irritated wife! I especially loved the scene where she beats Natha and Budhdhiya black and blue and chucks them out of the house and locks the door- when she finds out that they have lost the land! Natha’s mother- too sick to even get out of her bed- but never leaves the opportunity to emphasize that she’s a mother-in-law!

There were no actors. There were just people.

Sarcastic, dark comedy that makes you laugh at what you have been taking seriously for so long! It’s truth. It’s life.


Blasphemous Aesthete said...

Natha, really comes from such a background in Bhilia.

Reading an article on Natha in the newspaper today itself, This guy was a small man in a theatre company.
The movie, am yet to see, but the heroes welcome that he received back in his home state, for so appropriately showing their conditions, I think the movie is a must watch.
He says, right now a real peepli[live] is going on in the village he lives in, because of the movie.

Matangi Mawley said...

@ blasphemous aesthete...

:) he lived- yes! he is a hero! much better hero than all others put together!

vanilla sky said...

Dnt know when I'll get to watch it, but your storylike review was quite satisfying for the moment :)

Kalyan said...

good review. shud chk out soon.

Matangi Mawley said...

@ vanilla sky...


Matangi Mawley said...


thanks! :)

rauf said...

i have lost patience for movies Matangs, lost interest in them. i don't hear of any passionately made movies any more. i hear Hindi movies have improved quite a bit over the years but Tamil movies remain crude as ever. i was trapped in a bus from Cuddalore to Chennai one night with a Rajnikanth movie. By the time i reached chennai i was shivering with fever. The movie was so intolerable and i couldn't jump off the bus.

PEEPLI LIVE sounds very much like a Munshi Premchand's story. i am quite familiar with the villages of the North and South. Indian politicians have sold India, its land and the farmers to the giant corporates resulting in mass suicides.
i have written about it in many posts Mathangi. Its sad.

Your narration has generated interest in me. i'll go see the movie if its still running here.

Matangi Mawley said...


:) thanks!!!

rauf said...

you recommended and i watched. And i don't regret it. And it was not a waste of time.

it was crudely made. With a little bigger budget this movie could have been well shot. The camera kills the rural atmosphere in many places with wrong timing and bad cinematography. It has very powerful content, and deftly narrated though not very well enacted. It was like the whole crew was in a hurry to finish the shots. The best thing is, it is very well written. Other departments like camera direction editing acting, just filled in, just like going to office 9 to 5 heartlessly.

i am well aware of the atmosphere and the rural situations. This is no surprise to me. But for the outsiders this is a shocking film.
i will not be surprised if this gets the Oscar nomination, just on the strength of the script alone. Unfortunately the subtitles don't help. There has to be some one who knows the language in the panel. The wry humour is lost in the subtitles. This may be the only reason for losing at the final nomination. Very strong contender nonetheless. With all its short comings Peepli (live) is a film to remember.

this comes from India and Indians made it, i am really proud.

Matangi Mawley said...


happy that you liked it.. recently came to know that it has been selected for the Oscars... I don't have the hope...
I totally agree with your point there-- about the sub titles! one should know the language...
Ya- anusha rizvi sure needs a pat on the back.. she only needed a more serious crew...

one thing was this. it has nothing to do with farmers' suicide! that issue is not dealt here.. it s the issue of media hype/bureaucratic corruption/etc. i dont understand why ppl are promoting it as a movie based on farmers' suicide!!??

thanks for trusting my review and watching it! :)