Thursday, July 1, 2010


By D.E.Levine

Directors: Anusha Rizvi and Mahmood Farooqui
Writer: Anusha Rizvi
Cast: Omkar Das, Raghuvir Yadav, Shalini Yatsa, Farrukh Jaffar, Mailaka Shenoy, Vishal Sharma, Nowaz, Sitaram Panchal, Naseeruddin Shah, Aamir Bashir et al.
Producers: Aamir Kahn and Kiren Rao
Executive Producer: B. Shrinivas Rao
Co-producer: Ronnie Screwvala
Line Producer: Alan McAlex
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Country of Origin: India
Language: Hindi wirh English subtitles
Genre: Drama

In this Indian film, Anusha Rizvi and Mahmood Farooqui mimic Frank Capra by taking a serious social issue and subjecting it to satirical scrutiny. By doing this the filmmakers hope to appeal to popular sentiment instead of making a documentary.

The film is both funny and sobering and aims beyond the Bollywood audience towards the wider international audience.

The subject is very real and relevant. As India is moving towards a more industrialized society, tens of thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide. In real life, politicians have been unsuccessful at addressing and solving the problem.

The film concentrates on a poor family in danger of losing their farm because of a loan they cannot pay. A local, non-caring politician suggests that one of the brothers commit suicide so that the surviving family members can be paid through a government program and in turn, pay off the loan.

Natha, takes the challenge seriously and volunteers to commit suicide. A reporter who overhears the conversation rushes to make it a news story and a glamorous news caster rushes to the scene, followed by a slew of other reporters and newscasters.

Politicians, and the high minister are all upset by the situation which threatens to upset an upcoming election.

Director Rizvi never fails at the opportunity to skewer the politicians and play upon the gullibility of the public. She creates laughter out of a serious social situation and brings a great deal of attention to a desperate Indian problem.

The film is absurd, realistic and a comic gem. While it had rave reviews from Sundance and other festivals, the likelihood of it gaining a following like Slumdog Millionaire is unlikely because while comic, it deals with a serious social problem.