Yes, but only challenge enough. Though Peepli Live (2010) is a nice movie but it can neither dethrone nor can it equal the effect of the king of black comedies Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (JBDY). I watched Peepli Live yesterday and found it an amazing movie. The simplicity, tight script, folk music and comedy are mixed in right proportions to create gripping cinema. Making fun of our political parties is not new but Anusha Rizvi’s dig at Indian media must have hit hard.
One thing is interesting when we compared Peepli Live with JBDY. Released in 1983 JBDY is a hilarious satire on the functioning of our system. It talks about corruption at the lower levels of administration. Corrupt Municipal Commissioner D’Mello and his deputy were the highest ranking government officers whose deeds were shown in the movie. In Peepli Live, however, the rot of corruption and lust for power is shown to have reached the highest echelons of the government and the political parties. Evidently, from 1983 to 2010 corruption has grown leaps and bounds.
One of the reasons why Peepli Live could not be as good as JBDY is that Peepli Live has a predictable and intuitive plot and script. We have seen so much rotting of our political system and media establishment that we can imagine everything that they are capable of doing. The plot of JBDY is not intuitive. Also, the key comedy scenes in Peepli Live are a wee bit too much. While the Ramlila scene in the climax of JBDY is the crown jewel of the movie; in Peepli Live the jewel was tried to be created in shit. I know that the coverage and telecast of the footage of Nattha’s “last” pile of shit was symbolic. Our news channels sometimes really do pull off equally nonsensical deeds of yellow journalism. But still the dialogues spoken during the shit scene were too much. The confusion right before the explosion in which Nattha “dies” looked like an attempt to imitate the chase for D’Mello’s dead body in JBDY.
Though Menhgai Dayan is the most popular song in the movie but my personal favorite turned out to be Chola Mati Ke Ram. Nageen Tanvir’s voice is still ringing in my ears. This song, along with, Mehngai Dayan proves the melodious nature of our folk songs and music. I still haven’t forgotten Nageen’s singing and performance in the play Charandas Chor. She is taking good care of Habib Tanvir’s tradition.
Peepli Live, overall, is a very good movie. Well done Aamir! Once again!