Peepli Live Review

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In the India village of Peepli, poor farmer Natha (Das) discovers that his family will benefit from his suicide thanks to a loophole in a government scheme. Soon Natha's plan to exploit this becomes the focus of a media circus that descends on the village.


A poverty-stricken man contemplates killing himself in this Indian satire about the farmer suicide crisis. Farmer Natha (Omkar Das) is struggling to make ends meet when he hears that the government is paying money to the families of farmers who commit suicide. Natha’s brother talks him into it, and when the media hears his plan, national film crews descend upon the sleepy village of Peepli. The ensuing media circus is amusing, and ironic given simple, ineffectual Natha is far from the hero they claim him to be. Other attempts at comedy stray too far into farce, and scenes in TV stations and political offices are stilted. But while this inevitably loses something in translation, it’s culturally enlightening and a decent debut for writer-director Anusha Rizvi.

While the tone may shift from satire to farce at times, this is a highly assured debut by Rizvi.