Already doing the rounds of different international film festivals "Peepli Live", which releases Friday, explores the gap between rural and urban India. The movie has generated the right buzz courtesy its storyline and producer Aamir Khan's promotional expertise.
Directed by debutante Anusha Rizvi, it is a satire on farmers' suicides and the subsequent media and political response in the country. The film doesn't boast of any big Bollywood names.
"It is a film on rural and urban divide. People like us who live in cities like Mumbai and Delhi should get to know a little about the realities of India. The film is based on that," Rizvi had told IANS.
Added Aamir: "Many things that the film is showing are very crucial and it is similar to my thinking and sensibility."
Distributed by UTV Motion Pictures, this is the fourth film from Aamir Khan Productions Ltd. after "Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India" (2001), "Taare Zameen Par"(2007) and "Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na"(2008).
Known to lend his mind, body and soul to his ventures, the Bollywood perfectionist admits he's been losing sleep over the project.
"As Aug 13 gets closer, the butterflies in my stomach are really beginning to flutter around. Have lost my appetite and my sleep... I'm really depending on you guys (audiences) this time round for support. This is an especially tough one with no big stars and a film based in a rural background," he wrote on his blog.
Filmed in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and New Delhi, the movie revolves around two impoverished farmers - Natha (Omkar Das Manikpuri) and Budhia (Raghubir Yadav), who live in a village called Peepli. They are about to lose their land due to debts when an incompetent politician suggests they commit suicide to get government help. The news spreads and the media turns Natha into a celebrity.
Noteworthy is that according to government statistics cited in the film, 182,000 farmers took their own lives between 1997 and 2007.
Many of the actors in the movie are tribals from the village of Bhadwai in Madhya Pradesh while other cast members are from late playwright Habib Tanvir's theatre troupe Naya Theatre. The film stars Naseeruddin Shah, Malaika Shenoy, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shalini Vatsa, Farrukh Jaffer, Vishal O. Sharma, Aamir Bashir, Sitaram Panchal and Yugal Kishore.
Also known for his promotional gimmicks, Aamir has taken the movie to different parts of the world through film festivals. It recently won the Best First Feature Film award at the 31st Durban International Film Festival in South Africa.
"Peepli Live" also competed in the Sundance Film Festival, the first film from India to do so. The movie was also picked up by specialty German distribution company Rapid Eye Movies for a special screening at the Berlin International Film Festival. It recently had its Melbourne premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival MIFF 2010 too.
Fusion-rock band Indian Ocean mark their comeback to Bollywood after six years with their compositions "Darte ho" and "Desh mera".
Aamir even broke into an impromptu gig with the band during the music launch of "Peepli Live" and took charge of the drums.