India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Peepli Live: Brilliant, nuanced satire


Peepli LiveThere are a lot of nuances in Anusha Rizvi’s “Peepli Live” that you may not get at once. There will be a comment on the health system in villages or the lack of hygiene but they are so subtle that it may escape the notice of the less attentive viewer.

It will be your loss if you do miss out on these small details because this film thrives on subtlety — something we aren’t too used to as viewers.

To be able to see the (dark) humour in a situation like farmer suicides without actually laughing at the issue is a tough act to pull off and fortunately for her and her audience, Rizvi does it with aplomb.

Omkar Das plays Natha, a down-on-his-luck farmer who can barely manage to feed his family, let alone save his ancestral property due to an upaid loan. When a local politician laughingly advises him to commit suicide so that he can claim compensation from the government, he grudgingly agrees. Egged on by his elder brother Budhia (Raghuveer Yadav), he makes his intentions public and is overheard by a local reporter.