Anusha Rizvi, writer and director, Aamir Kahan and Kiran Rao, producers, Mahmood Farooqui, co-director (Aamir Khan Productions, UTV, 2010)
Peepli Live is a feature film that examines the topic of “farmer suicides” in India. The film tells the story of two brothers who are bankrupt. A local moneylender suggests that one of brothers should commit suicide in order to qualify for a government assistance program set up to pay families only after a suicide. The government subsidy will help save the family farm, but the question is which brother will end his life for the sake of the rest of the family? As the brothers attempt to sort out this conundrum, the local newspaper starts covering the story of the brothers’ dilemma. Through social media, the news item spreads nationally and becomes a media sensation. The resolution of the brothers’ problem is an indictment of the nature of the culture of late capitalism in a postcolonial context. Further, Rizvi’s film provides an important critique of state policies and the role of new media in India today.
Rajit Mazumder, DePaul University, will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterward.
Cosponsored by the Society for Advancing the History of South Asia.