Peepli Live, a Bollywood film looking at suicide among farmers, has not only met with angry and vocal resistance over the subject matter from some critics, but has also run into political trouble after a prominent opposition politician expressed misgivings about it.
BJP leader L.K. Advani, himself a former film critic, praised producer Aamir Khan, a popular movie star, for Peepli Live’s ‘realistic depiction of village life.’ But he added: ‘I wish for the main theme of the story, the filmmakers had chosen some subject other than farmers’ suicide.’
‘I told Aamir,’ blogged Advani, ‘(that) I have been to villages in Andhra (Pradesh) and Vidharbha (in Maharashtra) where many such suicides have taken place. And I can imagine how distressed these families would feel if they were to see the film and find the tragedies they’ve passed through were being made an object of mockery…’
To me, though, it would be a bigger tragedy if in passing judgment on Peepli Live, the focus on the serious issue of suicide among farmers is somehow blurred.