The latest film from Aamir Khan Productions is titled Peepli Live. It is written & directed by Anusha Rizvi, produced by Aamir Khan & Kiran Rao, and is co-produced by Ronnie Screwvala.
Natha, a poor farmer from Peepli village in the heart of rural India, is about to lose his plot of land due to an unpaid government loan. A quick fix to the problem is the very same government’s program that aids the families of indebted farmers who have committed suicide. As a means of survival farmer Natha can choose to die! His brother is happy to push him towards this unique ‘honor’ but Natha is reluctant. Local elections are around the corner and what might’ve been another unnoticed event turns into a ’cause celebre’ with everyone wanting a piece of the action. Political bigwigs, high-ranking bureaucrats, local henchmen and the ever-zealous media descend upon sleepy Peepli to stake t heir claim. The question on everyone’s lips – “Will he or Won’t he?” As the mania escalates, what will be the fate of Farmer Natha; nobody seems to care how he really feels?
The cast of Peepli Live was selected after an extensive and exhaustive casting process that lasted over 4 months. Over 600 to 900 actors were auditioned in several cities in India. In the event, legendary Indian theatre director Habib Tanvir’s Naya Theatre repertory which comprises mainly rural folk actors provided the main stay. This is the first feature film for most actors who appear in Peepli Live but several have background in theatre. The huge cast of the film and their tremendous hard work makes this a truly actors’ film.
Omkar Das Manikpuri plays Natha. Manikpuri belongs to the state of Chattisgarh, in central India. He started his career as a performer in the local form of folk theatre called Nacha.
Raghubir Yadav plays Budhia. Yadav is one of India’s leading art house actors, and a highly gifted musician. In his stage career as an actor and singer, he has performed in over 70 plays and about 2500 shows. Three films that he has acted in have received Academy Award nominations for Best Foreign Language Film (Salaam Bombay, Lagaan, Water). He was the first actor to be cast for Peepli Live, and he has also sung for the film.
Malaika Shenoy is Nandita Mallik. Malaika is a Mumbai-based model, actor, and voice-over artiste. She has anchored and hosted many programs on Indian television and has appeared in a number of advertisements. She has also appeared in two independent feature films.
Other cast members include Shalini Vatsa (as Dhaniya), Nawazuddin Siddiqui (as Rakesh), Farrukh Jaffer (as Amma), and Vishal O Sharma (as Kumar Deepak).
Peepli Live has also been selected for the ‘World Cinema Competition’ at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It looks to be a great film, we can’t wait to see it!