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    Default Exclusive DVD Review PEEPLI [Live]

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    By Joginder Tuteja, November 8, 2010 - 14:26 IST


    Cast: Omkar Das Manikpuri, Raghuveer Yadav, Malaika Shenoy, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shalini Vatsa, Farrukh Jaffer, Vishal O Sharma, Naseruddin Shah
    Director: Anusha Rizvi
    Co-director: Mahmood Farooqui
    Producer: Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao
    Music: Indian Ocean, Brij Mandal, Nageen Tanvir, Ram Sampat
    Lyrics: Sanjeev Sharma, Swanand Kirkire, Brij Mandal, Noon Meem Rashed, Gangaram Sakhet


    Peeli Live could well be termed as a docudrama given the harsh realities that are thrown into the narrative. However, this is where the win of first time director Anusha Rizvi is visible because she pitches in enough humour to keep the proceedings lively. Of course there is an element of tragedy, right at the start as well as the end of the film, but it's the middle portions that truly captivate. In fact it won't be wrong to state that with a dry beginning (farmers loosing their land) and an inconclusive end (more about it later), you do wonder if humour a la Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron could have stayed consistent throughout.

    Still, watching Peepli Live is an experience in itself because it doesn't take time for you to be sucked into the dusty villages and small towns, courtesy Rizvi's shot taking coupled with perfect cinematography that gives the film just the right texture. So as a tempo drives through the narrow roads and traverses from a small town to a village, you know that there is something impending, given the financial situation that Natha (Omkar Das Manikpuri) and his elder brother Budhia (Raghuveer Yadav) are facing. With ***** over their head and nothing but only their own life at disposal, there is no other choice left but to commit suicide.

    Once this context is set in the first 15 minutes of the film, there is no looking back as the entire premise turns into a huge circus. Politics, media, caste divide, bureaucracy, opportunism, idealism - just about everything comes together in this 100 minutes tale that tells the trials, jubilation and tribulations of Natha who is a mere pawn in the bigger scheme of things. While politics - with two opposition parties using Natha for their own benefit - has a seen it done before feel, it is the role of media that does turn out to be the major highlight of the enterprise.

    Of course media itself has been the centre of attraction of many a film in the past. In the modern times, Shah Rukh Khan started it all in Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani while earlier this year, Ram Gopal Varma took a serious turn with Rann. However, Rizvi further scratches the surface as she brings on the battle within the media about one-upmanship, higher TRPs, cheap thrills, corporate diktats and creation (instead of reporting) of news.

    In fact it won't be wrong to say that the film has its best moments when the media war comes alive. Right from the first sequence in an English channel where a couple of anchors take on Naseeuddin Shah to the downmarket ploy of a Hindi channel which sensationalises Saif Ali Khan's first kiss, you know that there is quite a lot in store in the coming reels. This is where Malaika Shenoy and Vishal Sharma as a senior English and Hindi journalist respectively turn out to be the anchors of the film as well as they go all out in their unabashed way of finding breaking news.

    In the course of all of this, Natha's life goes through a turmoil as his life is not his own anymore. With a good for nothing elder brother, a nagging wife and an irritating bed ridden mother for home, all he takes solace from are a couple of goats who seem to be the only ones sympathetic to his cause. In fact the pace only picks up with his escape and the humour that follows is totally non-stop. However, the entire suicide episode which follows and the way Peepli Live ends does leave one with a heavy heart. Yes, there can't be a filmy ending to a tale like this but with humour forming the backbone of the film all this while, an ending that would have resulted in a smile would have been appreciated a little more. Another word of caution - the film has ample expletives so make sure that you are have the right company in tow.

    From the performance perspective, there is not one single actor who doesn't justify the character he/she is playing. In fact the highlights here are the lesser known actors with even lesser screen space. The bureaucrat who leaves everything on the High Court is a riot while his subordinate, an IAS types, gets the pathos bang on. Omkar Das Manikpuri is a find, though one wonders whether his career may soon go the Rajpal Yadav way.


    Peepli Live has to be one of the best and most eye catchy packaging that one has seen for Hindi films. Arriving in a 'Super Jewel' box, Peepli Live DVD is glossy yet classy.


    The film's duration is 110 minutes.


    - Live from Peepli - Documentary film
    - Deleted scenes
    - Special Track: DVS Blind and Low Vision

    This has to be one of those rare films where one actually looks forward to what exactly do the 'special features' have to offer. After all an Aamir Khan film is special and hence one expects the same from the add-ons in the DVD as well. This is the reason why one eagerly checks out 'Live from Peepli - Documentary film'. What makes one further excited is the fact that it hasn't been termed as a 'making of the film' which further makes one believe that there would be something unique in the offing.

    This is exactly what happens with the one hour long documentary film 'Live from Peepli' actually taking the audience to a journey where co-directors Anusha and Mahmood talk about how the film was conceptualised four years back, their coming together with producer Aamir Khan, the various hurdles that they faced, earlier idea of the test shoot (where even Minissha Lamba participated), Aamir being considered as the choice of playing Natha, the loss of cinematographer in the first few days of the shoot, the last minute changes in dialect, the various workshops being held, actors being auditioned etc. etc.

    It is truly an informative yet engaging segment where (surprisingly) Aamir participates in a limited capacity with Anusha and Mahmood taking the centre-stage.

    Six deleted scenes which appear in the DVD are just about okay though with most of them revolving around the interaction between media folks. The one that leaves the mark though is where the male reporter from a Hindi news channel gets into a discussion with the Minister (played by Naseeruddin Shah) in his office over a cup of tea. An engaging scene, it should have been a part of the film. The others where the female journalist from an upmarket news channel has a outburst in her office or later when she tries to build a conversation with her competitor have been rightly edited out from the film.

    Another added feature in the DVD is a special commentary track that runs for those with vision problems. There is a storytelling that happens in the background as the scenes unfold. This feature was earlier incorporated in 'Veer'.


    - 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation
    - Subtitles - English SDH, Hindi & Arabic
    - Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo


    Rs. 299/=


    When the film released, the word had spread around how well made, topical, sensitive and entertaining Peepli Live is. The matter of the fact is that though all of this is indeed true, one would have expected this Aamir Khan production to have created a little more impact. Reason being that with all the hype surrounding the film with the word 'great' being used alongside in the same breath, one could well have expected something which was path breaking. For a film that promised the moon, it may not take you all the way till there but helps you take a wonderful ride via the aerial route for sure.



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