The Indian producer discusses the powerful subject matter of his thoughtful and provocative new film.
After losing their plot of land over an unpaid government loan, Natha and Budhia, two brothers and farmers residing in the heart of rural India, seek the help of a local politician. Not concerned with their plight, the politician mockingly suggests that the brothers commit suicide to benefit from a government scheme that aids the families of indebted farmers who have killed themselves. Budhia, the shrewder of the two, immediately encourages Natha, a simpleton by nature, to think of the greater good of their family and do what is necessary. After their drunken conversation in a bar is overheard by a journalist, the next day it appears in a local newspaper under the header “A Death Foretold in Peepli Village.” The article sparks a chain of events that reaches the highest corridors of power in India’s political machinery. With elections around the corner what would otherwise have been common fare turns into a ‘cause célèbre’ with everybody wanting a piece of the action. From the glitzy television studios in New Delhi to the Agricultural Ministry, journalists, newsmen, local and national politicians descend upon the little village to stake their claim. The question on everyone’s lips is, “Will he or won’t he?” As the circus propagates itself, what will be the fate of poor farmer Natha who nobody stops to ask how he really feels?
Cast & crew