Peepli Live

Peepli live, the first ever Indian film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, projected, among others, the Berlin, and will try to enter the quintet of foreign films in competition at the Oscars, teaches a couple of interesting things about the Hindi cinema. PL is a little lacking in the original film star if you exclude the special appearance by Naseeruddin Shah, choreography, location of foreign luxury patina of romantic scenes and action. Yet at the box office has met with a resounding success, as well as to satisfy the critics.

The new production of Aamir Khan (and his half Kiran Kao) was an outsider to its release this summer 2010. A subject away from the usual glamor, not really an action film either, but the catastrophic condition of the peasants Indians, driven to suicide because of debts.

To grasp the extent of the problem, you should know that in 2007, 16,632 farmer suicides were recorded in India (17 060 in 2006), and since 1997, we arrive at the gigantic figure of 182,936 farmers committed suicide (1 ). Anusha Rizvi The director grabbed this unusual topic for movie screens and in fact the heart of a story referring back to back media, political and civil society.

The film takes as its starting point two brothers Natha (Omkar Das Manikpuri) and Budhia (Raghubir Yadav). Once the credits, we see them come back to Peepli their remote village, returning from a long trip undertaken to visit their bank they already know they are about to lose their land, following a loan they contracted particular to pay for drugs for their sick mother (cantankerous, also the mother). The brothers decide to go see the local politician (one is in full election) who, hilarious with his advisers suggested that he commit suicide so that his family gets the money that the state gives to families such cases. Both farmers learn the news with surprise but soon face the misery of everyday life, the idea is gaining ground, and Budhia convinces his brother Natha, naive and a bit cheesy, commit this suicide to save his land and family.

The story might have ended there if Rakesh, a local journalist, had not crossed by chance the two brothers and devoted an article to Natha. It was enough for media attention (always looking for the scoop) is focused on the small village of Peepli and that political leaders (which advertising in the midst of election!) Get involved.

The ensuing media frenzy is shown with biting irony: the house of Natha and his family, after the village of Peepli already after the world turns into the center of national attention with retransmission [live!] So, for a mass of journalists from competing channels, installation of fairs, walks onlookers, especially visiting politicians of all persuasions. The film tells cynically that suicide - or not - of Natha becomes an election issue: his death would benefit the opposition that would show how the current government does not take care of the peasants, his rescue reclaim some the party emblem in power. Natha is also covered with unnecessary gifts without anyone asking him what he really needs. And behavior of senior leaders in Delhi is shameless: inertia facing the least action becomes comical because it is so disgusting, no cares about the imminent death of Natha, but all think its possible use in the media plan. The prize goes to the Minister of Agriculture who sees salvation only in the industrialization of the countryside ( Naseeruddin Shah , tongue-in-cheek).

Journalists are just as much for their degree. Without ethics, looking for the scoop that will make them gain an advantage over their competitors, scaffolding the most absurd stories with the stroke of bidonnées interviews, and obviously never taking the time to check their sources: the media circus is showed no concession, no characters to repurchase the middle of all this, and this vision reaches its goal, because you can not help but think of several news items and political affairs in France or abroad, which triggered this sort of media hysteria.

The strength of Peepli [Live] is also in this contrast: everything has exaggerated the air, but also has the potential air, India, the United States, Europe, Chile, and elsewhere ... And the possible suicide of a man is the center of everything it does encourage people to exercise restraint, on the contrary: nobody wants to help Natha actually or really find a lasting solution to the problem of Indian peasants against by everyone wants its butter on his back.

One can also see here the limits of the film: the look leaves satirical comedy emotion aside. The character of an old starving peasant who persists in digging a well away from the bustle of the village brings gravity, but the cynical aspect of the assembly prevents the film to take the viewer completely. As with the character of Natha, touching, soft and visibly overwhelmed by the situation, but his passivity is a brake of the film, the peasant condition is eventually left out in favor of the media and political circus that accompanied the story.

Peepli [Live] is finely made: the fast pace which are linked scenes reflects how the situation degenerates. The actors are a confusing natural. The director has left his camera hanging in the village where the filming was taking place to accustom the population, and after 10 days the population was paying more attention.

The leading roles are played brilliantly: special mention to the family members of Natha, especially his wife (Shalini Vatsa) and his mother (Farrukh Jaffer) and to Nandita, the TV presenter (Malaika Shenoy) and reporter Local Rakesh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Omkar Das Manikpuri, who plays Natha, and several other actors in the film, belong to the troupe Naya Theatre Habib Tanvir: the high level of their overall interpretation contributes greatly to the success of the film. And the music, the work of the Indian group Indian Ocean and Ram Sampath, fits very well to the film, with a slightly folkloric touch.

The challenge of this production has proven winner. Critical acclaim and box office, the first Indian film presented at Sundance festival American Indian entry to the Oscars, Peepli [Live] collects successes, with lot of controversy that goes with: the accusation of plagiarism for one of the songs, complaint from a group of Indian peasants arguing that the film exploits their image without compensation and without worrying about their real problems and lately complaint of a lawyer against the "abusive language" of the film.

Moreover, in recent days, controversy seems to arise between the couple Anusha Rizvi directors-Mahmood Farooqui and producer Aamir Khan (accused more or less control over the film at the end of the shoot, leaving his freedom of decision to the director) ... Peepli [Live] should therefore continue to be talked about this year!

So end this criticism by leaving the word to director Anusha Rizvi, who gave the film a very very bitter end. Moreover, it prevents the audience: "This is definitely a political film I would not say it's a film full of hope If viewers are surprised to laugh, they should ask themselves what they find.. funny in the current situation in India. The purpose of the film is not to make the public feel comfortable.

And indeed, Peepli [Live] leaves us with the idea that the widespread and frightening world has gone mad and no one seems to notice.

As the events narrated are rather simple, PL has since its a script that, especially in the second half, effectively supports the film of a massive dose of irony. Not only is the producer Aamir Khan, who does not appear in the cast, has promoted PL with energy, transport and great staff availability, proving to the film industry of Mumbai which also engage non-commercial films eventually pay. We report an equally striking example: the producer Ekta Kapoor who has been able to impose on the public and critics as innovative and tricky film Love Sex Aur Dhokha.

In the first half of neorealism PL is sprinkled with a few slow too reminiscent of the films of Eastern Europe. Raghubir Yadav and Ishita Vyas is stellar, but also the actors supporting actors give good performances. In the second half the range of characters widens. PL register changes and turns in biting satire, putting to shame the inert, corrupt bureaucracy, the political opportunist and detached from reality, but especially the questionable management of news by the media.

And something more PL has a bitter aftertaste that prevents to indulge in rice and that leads us to reflect. An average of 41 suicides per day of indebted farmers in India is a shocking figure. Human beings who take their own lives because without basic means of livelihood. In comparison, our daily problems become trivial embarrassing. Observe desperation - even if represented in a way not heavy nor rhetorical - is appalling. The question the film poses is: but we viewers are so very different from ethically lazy bureaucrats, politicians, journalists shown in PL?

We appreciate PL does not complaint because a social evil, but because it illuminates a dark ravine hidden in us, a lump of selfishness and indifference we should (seriously) be ashamed. Budhia (Raghubir Yadav) and Natha (Omkar Das Manikpuri) are farmers, and they live by cultivating a small plot of land inherited from his father and unfortunately mortgaged. They do not have the money to pay the installment of the mortgage, and therefore the bank is ready to confiscation. No one wants to or can help.

Natha decides to commit suicide in order to ensure the family a substantial government contribution. The decision to Natha reaches the ears of a local reporter, Rakesh Kapoor (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), which runs the news to his idol, the television reporter Nandita Malik (Malaika Shenoy).

Peepli Live is a small film that shows the real India without masking the contradictions of our fumbling democracy. PL develops into a fresh, effective satire which ironically turns his gaze to the deterioration of rural areas, the gap with the urban world, the bureaucracy is not in sync with the civil society, the political class uncaring, the ravenous media, and the total indifference to the real country and its problems.

The strength of PL is the script, smart and bold, and even more characters. Recruit actors from the famous Naya Theatre of Habib Tanvir was a winning move for the debutant director Anusha Rizvi. Raghubir Yadav, Omkar Das Manikpuri and Farrukh Jaffer steal the show. A special mention for the soundtrack. PL towards the middle tends to become repetitive, but it still represents a strong and vibrant document of '"other" India, that is not illuminated by the spotlight. A new trick up its sleeve for Aamir Khan, this time as a producer of a film that has a lot to say, without being boring or didactic.

Peepli live exceeds the most important test for a film that narrates the story of ordinary men: the audience is really asking if the characters on the screen are real or actors. The satire is irresistible, the sub-text stimulant. The funny screenplay (Anusha Rizvi) is based in immaculate. Actually the media in India, both in Hindi ridiculous that the excitable superstar of the news in English, leave little room for parody. So in PL the risk was to parody something that already looks like a caricature of reality. Journalists such as news consumers instantly recognize the hidden truths comedy PL. The film is the most intelligent and humorous Indian commentary made ​​for a long time: it is certainly the only true black comedy in Hindi in 27 years see 1983 Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro.

Some political parties have asked Aamir Khan permission to use the song Saiyyan Sakhi in the election campaign in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The song, played by Raghubir Yadav, talk about prices and inflation. Aamir Khan has refused. Bollywood has lent often singing songs to politics. Last year the Congress Party adopted Jai Ho as a hymn in the general election. In 2007, Chak De! India was used by the Congress in Gujarat for the elections of the state.

The lyricist Sameer has rewritten the text in key parody of a song from the soundtrack of Love Aaj Kal, Chor bazaari, for the election campaign of Ashok Chavan, the current Minister of Maharashtra. In 1984, the song Khaike Paan Banaraswala, taken from Don and written by the father of Sameer, sung by Kishore Kumar and displayed on the screen by Amitabh Bachchan , was adopted by Congress to promote the same Bachchan during his election campaign in Allahabad. Item of The Times of India.

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