f we can’t laugh at ourselves then the world really is a dire place – for what is humour, but laughing at one another’s misfortunes. Don’t get me wrong I’m not making light of the dire circumstances in which at least half of the world’s population live, but laughter at times is the best medicine.
Although Aamir Khan is focusing on the poorest of the poor in India, it’s not the situation of which he is making light, rather the way in which the characters deal with the situation and the response of the media which will do anything to increase ratings (or readership depending on medium).
The performances by the main characters, Yadav as Budhia and Manikpuri as Natha - two brothers who prefer spending their money on booze than tending their farm, are superb. If you had such a harridan of a mother or a shrew of a wife (Budhia’s) you would also immerse yourself in drink. So realistic and believable are the roles played by each member of the cast, it’s as if the viewer is a fly on the wall.
In an attempt to borrow some money to pay their debt they are laughed off and told to ‘commit suicide’ so that the government will pay their family. Not the brightest bricks in the wall they decide that there’s no alternative one of them will have to die (although it’s a crime against the State). A journalist overhears their conversation and that’s when the three-ringed circus really begins. TV crews flock to their village and because elections are in the offing, politicians get in on the fray using this case as their platform.
‘Peepli Live!’ hasn’t yet been released on circuit, but when it is it will be the first film for which the Avalon Cinema Group will have distribution rights in South Africa. Keep an eye out this is a movie which is really worth watching!
Hindi with sub-titles