Peepli Live: A Comment On Itself?

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 PMNov (Cinema, Media, Musings, Slice Of Life)

Celebratory reactions for the film Peeli Live made me hold back my initial reaction to the film. I started suspecting my own reading of the film. I suspected not just because of the celebratory reactions and reviews but also because of the noisy crowd that made viewing of the film not so easy. I also decided to watch the film again, but the film moved out of the theatre within a week giving me no second chance to watch the film. Many days have passed since i watched the film and i still feel what i felt soon after watching the film. So finally i decide to write it down and voice my opinion, making way for discussion and also learning, in case i am wrong.

First of all, though the film projects itself like a film on farmer suicide, it is not one. It is another film on media insensitivity. It speaks of how, for media, only sensational issues are important, like that of Natha’s suicidal thoughts, but not daily struggle of farmers, like the unknown farmer digging the earthl. But how much space does the film give to the struggle of farmers? How much does it speak of the condition which pushes the farmers to take the step of suicide? Why should it, one might ask when the focus of the film is on media insensitivity. By not showing (it only knocks at the door but doesnt open it) the film becomes like one of those several media that it is critiquing. It becomes a comment on itself, it appears to me. The camera, by going for a slow motion, mourns for the death of a journalist but remains quite indifferent to Natha and his plight. But in the end by giving statistics on farmer suicide the film poses like it was all about farmers.

Satire is not a joke. Creating a work of satire is not at all a joke. Slight mishandling can make it insensitive to the subject it is handling by making the work appear as a mockery of the subject it is handling. Many complain of the majority being unable to understand that the comedy is superficial and tragedy essential. Yes, but are we giving the director a margin through these comments by making the larger public the criminals? Couldn’t it also be a slight mishandling by the director which makes the satire slightly insensitive? I personally thought the Director did not handle the genre of satire quite well. That is why the audience laugh, it appears. Like the light on the screen that also falls on the audience the insensitivity on the screen also falls on the audience making their faces visible, i think.

Saying this i must say that it is a nice attempt, of bringing the marginalized on the screen again, for which the Director deserves an applause. But i think the film is overrated.

02 September 2010

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