Berlinale: Programme


Film file

Berlinale Special

Peepli Live

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Peepli is a tiny, remote village in India. Two of the villagers are the brothers Natha and Budhia, who are both poor peasants. Unable to pay back a loan, they risk losing their tiny piece of land to the bank and are desperate to find a way of saving their property. The local owner of a large estate gives them a sound piece of advice: one of them should commit suicide. There is a government programme, he says, that provides financial support to surviving dependants. Encouraged by the women in the family, Budhia, the older of the two brothers, makes some investigations. It looks as though he is about to prepare to end his life, but then, Natha carelessly announces that he is willing to die – and Budhia accepts his offer immediately.
Meanwhile, the Indian television news desks are full of the by-elections in Mukhya Pradesh. The reports focus mainly on the rivalry between the Minister for Agriculture and the Chief Minister of this Indian state. A journalist reporting from Peepli overhears a drunken conversation between the two brothers and this provides him with a fantastic headline for the morning papers: “A Death Foretold in Peepli”. The news is a sensation – on account of the elections – and before long the machinery of state is set in motion, closely followed by the media. In no time at all the whole country is following Natha’s story. Reporters, police, politicians, gawkers, wheelers and dealers all besiege his house. Not only Natha’s family, but hundreds of other people sense an opportunity to make a fortune …

India 2009, 105 min

by

Anusha Rizvi

with

Omkar Das
Raghubir Yadav
Shalini Vatsa
Farukh Jaffer
Malaika Shenoy

World Sales

UTV Motion Pictures Ltd.