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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Peepli Live" )

 

directed by Anusha Rizvi and Mahmood Farooqui
India 2010

 

On the verge of losing their family farm to the bank, brothers Budhia (Raghuvir Yadav, 1942: A LOVE STORY) and Nathas (Omkar Das Manikpuri, MONSOON SHOOTOUT) learn that the families of farmers who have committed suicide are compensated with 100,000 rupees. With his invalid mother (Farrukh Jaffar), Nathas' harridan wife Dhaniya (Shalini Vatsa), and his two children to consider, Nathas decides he will be the one to commit suicide. When ambitious reporter Rakesh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui, NEW YORK) overhears Nathas' plans in the village and impulsively prints the story in the paper, he and his editor (Masood Akhtar, CITY OF JOY) are reprimanded and their paper loses its news license; however, the story reaches the ears of ITVN Delhi news anchor Nandita (Malaika Shenoy, OFFSHORE) who contacts Rakesh and shows up in Peepli with a news crew. The story proves damaging to Chief Minister Ram Yadav (Yugal Kishore) who is basing his upcoming election campaign on the prosperity of farmers, and he presses tries to quench the bad publicity through ineffectual aide programmes (the local magistrate presents Nathas with a water pump, but no funds or labor to have it installed) and local bigwig Bhai Thakur (Sitaram Panchal, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) uses force to silence Nathas and Budhia; however, Yadav's local opponent Puppulai - the so-called "Messiah of the Backward Castes" - wants to hold Nathas and his suicide up as a symbol of the ruling party's failures (and proves to be just as out of touch by gifting Nathas a television, even though they have no electricity). ITVN's rival station anchor Deepak (Vishal Sharma) also heads down to Peepli with an interest in televising a live suicide, and is followed by a horde of reporters who turn the village into a media circus (which actually proves profitable to the locals). Yadav and Puppulai form an alliance and try turning the blame to the federal government's agricultural ministry and minister Salim (Naseeruddin Shah, MONSOON WEDDING), who has been trying to pass off a great number of the farmer suicides as natural deaths. Meanwhile, Bhai Thakur is beginning to feel edged out by Yadav's alliance, and decides to play both sides by threatening Nathas that he better follow through with the suicide while telling the media that the government cannot sit back and let this happen. When Nathas mysterious vanishes, the media is rife with speculations of cowardice on Nathas' part, government conspiracies, Islamic terrorists, or American covert intervention, and whether Nathas ends his life or not may no longer be his decision.

Although fairly epic in scope, PEEPLI [LIVE] will not be what international audiences are expecting of a Bollywood film. The songs are few and far between, and there are no elaborately choreographed numbers. The broader elements of comedy clash with the more understated, and some very pointed social and political commentary sometimes gets lost among the more obvious skewering of ravenous television news media (the reporter psychoanalyzing the varied hues of Nathas' feces after his disappearance falls somewhere in between, but Salim's idea of a "Nathas card" to give aid to families of famers "desiring to commit suicide" that passes on the question of how to fund it to the state governments is politics as usual). With so many characters, relationships are bound to suffer, so we really get little sense of the whys of the enmity between Nathas and his wife, Budhia and Nathas' wife, and the subplot attraction between Nandita and Rakesh (and Rakesh' souring journalistic ambition) is so sparsely addressed that details of the cynical ending might not be clear to viewers the first time around. Technical credits are top notch with striking cinematography, detailed sets, colorful costumes, rich music and sound design. Producer Aamir Khan's previous international success was the Academy Award-nominated LAGAAN (2001).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 13 August 2010 (India)

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DVD Comparison:

UTV Motion Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(UTV Motion Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

UTV Motion Pictures

Region 0 - NTSC

Artificial Eye
Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:49:56 1:43:48 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.43 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.73 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

UTV Motion Pictures

 

Bitrate:

 

Artificial Eye

 

Audio Hindi/English Dolby Digital 5.1; Hindi/English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo; Hindi DVS Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Hindi/English Dolby Digital 5.1; Hindi/English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Subtitles English, Hindi, Arabic, none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: UTV Motion Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• [Live] from Peepli (4:3; 1:00:34)
• Six Deleted Scenes (16:9; 8:10 - no subtitles)
• Coming Soon Trailer (16:9; 3:25 - English subtitles)
• International Trailer (16:9; 2:35 - English subtitles)
• Teaser (16:9; 0:43 - no subtitles)
• Curtain Raiser (16:9; 0:22 - no subtitles)
• Seven TV spots (no subtitles):
• - Pakka (16:9; 0:22)
• - Amma + Deepak (16:9; 0:49)
• - Natha Disappeared (16:9; 0:33)
• - Anda (16:9; 0:33)
• - Des Mera (16:9; 1:05)
• - Mehngai Dayain (16:9; 0:49)
• - Dialogue - Bhai Thakur (16:9; 0:33)

DVD Release Date: 1 December 2010
Amaray

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• [Live] from Peepli (4:3; 58:08 - English subtitles)
• Six Deleted Scenes (English subtitles)
• - Before Deepak meets CM Ram Yadav for Election Bytes (4:3; 0:30)
• - After Nandita Gets Pulled Up for Her Programme Ratings (4:3; 0:55)
• - Before Rakesh Gets News of the Natha Suicide Story (4:3; 2:24)
• - Shots of Media Madness (4:3; 1:33)
• - Before CM Ram Yadav Visits Natha in Village (4:3; 1:12)
• - Before CM's Intended Press Conference (4:3; 1:17)
• The Story featurette (4:3; 4:12)
• The Cast featurette (4:3; 3:41)
• Aamir Khan featurette (4:3; 2:36)
• The Music featurette (4:3; 3:21)
• Coming Soon Trailer (4:3; 3:16)
• International Trailer (4:3; 2:27)
• Curtain Raiser Trailer (4:3; 1:01)

 

DVD Release Date: 31 January 2011
Amaray

Chapters 24

 

Comments

Neither disc features the film in its original aspect ratio. Sourced from the same HD master, the image has been cropped to 1.85:1 (presumably by the licensor since the American disc was released by UTV, the film's distributor). The film was shot in Panavision (not Super 35mm) and some wide angle shots feature anamorphic bowing. The Artificial Eye transfer seems ever so slightly brighter, but the framing is the same. Both discs offer 5.1 and 2.0 stereo tracks (there is an equal amount of Hindi and English dialogue spoken throughout), but the UTV disc adds a Descriptive Video Service track (however it is in Hindi) and includes additional Hindi and Arabic subtitles. The English subtitle translation appears to be the same.

Artificial Eye offers superior extras. Both discs share the documentary and deleted scenes; however Artificial Eye subtitles the Hindi dialogue in both. UTV's deleted scenes and trailers are presented in 16:9, but they look softer than those of the UK disc which presents these same extras in 4:3 letterbox. Whereas UTV also includes seven additional TV spots and a theatrical "curtain raiser" teaser, Artificial Eye includes four additional short featurettes. As with the extras package, the menus also seem to originate with UTV since both discs sport the same menu screen design (the exceptions being Artificial Eye's audio/subtitle set-up and featurette menus, but they are in the same style), and Artificial Eye seems to have upscaled the menus from ones meant for NTSC since the images are softer, there are artifacts around the edges of text, and smaller text (for instance, the deleted scenes menu) is difficult to read; however, the Artificial Eye package wins out for its featurettes over the additional TV spots.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
(
UTV Motion Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 


 

Screen Captures

(UTV Motion Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)
Subtitle sample

 


(UTV Motion Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(UTV Motion Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(UTV Motion Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(UTV Motion Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(UTV Motion Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(UTV Motion Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Draw

Sound:

Draw

Extras: Artificial Eye
Menu: Draw
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

UTV Motion Pictures

Region 0 - NTSC

Artificial Eye
Region 0 - PAL

 




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