The Common Man Speaks


Peepli [Live] Movie Review

Internationally Speaking…

Ratings: * * * *

Farmers’ suicide is a grave and disturbing issue that India is facing since past few years. Debutant director Anusha Rizvi’s Peepli [Live] takes the daredevil risk of presenting the subject in a dark-humorous or satirical manner without hurting the sensibility of the issue. But more importantly, Peepli [Live] highlights the fact that all it requires to make an appealing film is a simple yet powerful script instead of the big stars and the so-called commercial factors.

In the village of Peepli in the state of Mukhya Pradesh, brothers (farmers) Budhia (Raghuvir Yadav) and Natha (Omkar Das Manikpuri) are in danger of losing their land because of debt. When they plead an insensitive local politician for help, he suggests one of them should commit suicide in order to receive Rs 1 lakh as compensation from the government.

After some debate with Budhia, Natha suggests he would commit suicide. Unfortunately for Natha, he is overheard by a journalist. This was enough for the whole national media to throng into Peepli to cover Natha’s suicide, which becomes a burning national issue. The political parties too jump in to garner personal gains out of Natha’s suicide. But will Natha really end his life?

This is one of those very few films which make you think about the director while the proceedings are going on, on the celluloid. Anusha Rizvi has achieved mastery for handling such a subject and a large bunch of different and unusual characters in her very first movie. Producer Aamir Khan’s view before the release of the film that Rizvi can give most of the well-known directors a run for their money wasn’t an overstatement at all.

That’s not all for Rizvi. As the writer, she has succeeded in writing a moving tale which is also funny and has created some out-of-the-box artistic scenes while keeping the entertainment quotient in mind. There are plenty of rib-tickling moments out of which some are also thought-provoking. And a particular scene where the viewer is taken on a journey from a village to the city sums up the quality of this piece of cinema.

The film is also blessed with an apt background score and artistic cinematography. Songs Desh Mera and Mehangayi Daayan suit the mood of the film as well as provide the fun element.

It is very vital for such a film to be high on performance value and thankfully that is absolutely the case with Peepli [Live]. Debutant Omkar Das Manikpuri (a folk theatre artist) plays the role of the protagonist with utmost ease as he speaks more through eyes and expressions instead of words and does it with remarkable maturity. Truly a wonderful find! Raghuvir Yadav once again proves why he is one of the most accomplished actors the country has ever seen.

The nagging saas-bahu duo played by Farrukh Jaffer and Shalini Vatsa is enjoyable. However, the surprise element comes from top-notch performances of Malaika Shenoy (senior journalist) and Nawazuddin Siddiqui (journalist). These two deserve many more opportunities. The rest of the cast (lots of them) play their part perfectly.

It is films like Peepli [Live] that can take Bollywood or Hindi films to the international level and improve the quality of cinema, which has started to degrade in recent times. Box-office wise, the film will enjoy great returns largely because of the name Aamir Khan attached with it and the strong word-of-mouth it is receiving.


Evolution of India’s National Flag

With the arrival of the Independence Day, the demand or craze for the Indian flag or tricolor suddenly increases. Schools, colleges, homes, office, vehicles, clothes, etc are thronged by our flag of different sizes and materials. But hardly few of us know about the evolution of our flag and also the fact that it went through five different makeovers before getting its final look. So let’s have a look at the evolution of our national flag during the pre-independence era.

I don’t claim the below information to be my own. The information is compiled from the website of Government Of India –

This was the first Indian flag ever which was hoisted in Kolkata in 1906. This flag was composed of three colors, green, yellow and red with the words Vande Mataram inscribed in the centre.

In 1907, the second form of Indian flag was hoisted in Paris by Madam Cama and her group of revolutionaries. Except for a few changes, the flag was similar to the first one.

Do you know what happens to India's flag after August 15? See here in this beautiful short film HERE.

This was the most colorful version of the Indian flag. This flag was brought out in 1917 when the freedom struggle in India had taken a huge turn. This flag was hoisted by Dr. Annie Besant and Lokmanya Tilak during the Home Rule Movement. The flag consisted red and green horizontal lines and also had the Union Jack at the top left corner.

A youngster presented this version of the flag to Mahatma Gandhi in 1921 during the All India Congress Committee session that took place in Bezwada (now Vijaywada) in Andhra Pradesh. The red and green color in the flag represents two communities – Hindus and Muslims. As per Gandhiji’s suggestion, a white strip was included which indicated other religions and communities and a spinning wheel which portrays the progress of India.

The year 1931 was a landmark in the history of the national flag. The tricolor was adopted as the national flag of India as per a resolution passed. The three colors include saffron, white and green with Mahatma Gandhi’s spinning wheel or charkha in the centre.

The Constituent Assembly adopted the earlier version as the flag of Independent India. However, the only difference carried out was that Gandhiji’s spinning wheel was replaced by emperor Ashoka’s Dharma Chakra. This thus became the flag of Independent India in 1947.

On the occasion of our Independence, let us remember and salute those who sacrificed their lives and also those who borne innumerable pain to make India a free country. Vande Mataram!