Posts tagged farrukh jaffer
MM.com speaks to Natha’s mother, Farrukh ‘Ammaji’ Jaffer, only to bring out the intellectual and lighter side of a lady from the rustic lands of Uttar Pradesh
|Farrukh Jaffer, a far cry from Ammaji of Peepli Live|
“I am too busy and too free, depending on my priorities. But if there is someone to listen to me, I can talk 24 hours. Jaise ham abhi aapse baat kar rahe hain,” 72-year-old Farrukh Jaffer bursts out laughing. “Ammaji” is bound to slip out of your mouth when you are talking to her. One of the most memorable characters of Peepli Live, Ammaji, is what she is better known as now.
A graduate and a student of National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi, Farrukh started her career in All India Radio as an announcer in Lucknow. At NSD, she learnt a lot from one of the most influential theatre directors Ebrahim Alkazi. She performed in a few of his plays and thoroughly loved the experience. But somehow, she felt closer to radio and films. It was Muzzaffar Ali, director of Rekha-starrer Umrao Jaan, who gave her her big break in the film where she played Rekha’s mother. Farrukh, who has her base in Lucknow for years now, feels deep gratitude towards Muzzaffar Ali, “I am thankful to Muzzaffar saab from the bottom of my heart. He gave me my first break. And it was his serial Damyanti where Ashutosh Gowariker spotted me and offered me Swades. He always gave me the freedom an artiste like me craves for.”
Farrukh believes an artist is the best creation of God, who should be treated with care and given desired freedom. She received such a treatment from Aamir Khan while working on Peepli Live, she says, “Aamir Khan trusted and gave me this opportunity. I am best known for my voice over and in Peepli that is what worked for me as an actor. He let me extend my dialogue as I wanted. He understood the culture and knew the essence of the language. I got immense respect from him as a person and in terms of work too. I admire him for that.”
Farrukh is, no doubt, a nawab from Lucknow. She loves her comfort and feels uncomfortable when restricted. Her experience while working in Swades with Ashutosh Gowariker was not as pleasant though. She says, “It was a great experience. But I felt slightly restricted with him, creatively. As a radio artist, I have a habit of elongating my dialogue with voice modulation to make it more effective. I wasn’t allowed to do that. But then, Ashutosh did give me one of my best lines of my career.”
Swades also gave Farrukh an opportunity to interact with the superstar of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, that too on the same level. She reminicences and laughs aloud at the interaction she had with him, “Shah Rukh ko main bandar bulati thi. He would put his head on my feet and ask me, ’Aap mujhe bandar kyu bulati hai?’ Then I would promptly reply, “Kyuki tum poora din bandar ki tarah uchaltey koodtey rehtey ho.” Admiring the father in King Khan, she says, “Woh apne bacchon ke bagair nahi reh sakta. He is a great father. I have just seen him interact with his kids.”
Despite belonging to a conservative family, she had all the support from her husband Sayyed Mohammed Jaffar, also a renowned journalist. He encouraged her in every step she took towards her passion for cinema. Mother of two grown up daughters says, “What should I say about him? He is the most amazing husband one can have. He supported me and allowed me to aspire big, which is very unlikely of a family with a conservative background like we have. But he trusted me and so did the family.”
In 30 years of her career, Farrukh had to shift base from a small village called Chakesar in Jaunpur district in Uttar Pradesh to Lucknow for a major period in between and then to Delhi. And now when she is doing films more often, she has to come down to Mumbai too. Totally in awe of the city, Farrukh says, “Mumbai sheher jaandaar hai. Yahaan kaam aapko dhoondhta hai. Mujhe behad pasand hai yeh sheher.” On the contrary, recalling her experience of living in another metro like Delhi almost 30 years ago, Farrukh didn’t really enjoy her time in the city. She says, “Dilli rehne wali jagah nahi hai. I felt very insecure while I came back from work. That time I was working with Akashvani. Even the transport facilities weren’t impressive. I used to regret leaving my job in All India Radio, Lucknow.”
Having seen the village life from close quarters, she agrees with how the subject is dealt in Peepli Live. Farrukh is against reservations given by the government to rural people. She believes, “Why can’t government give better facilities like better roads, light and houses to the rural people and inspire them to grow so that they don’t have to leave their house and family behind to go to a metro city to earn better?”
Ammaji she will remain for us until she is next seen in Aanand Rai’s Tanu Weds Manu, playing dadima to Kangna Ranaut who stars opposite R Madhvan in the film.
Farmers’ suicide has been a grave problem since past many years and no individual, commission or government has able to put an end or at least reduce it. Peepli [Live] is a story based on this burning issue. However, the treatment is simple and a major part of the film is light-hearted and comical. However, at the same time, the goings-on at several places terribly move you. Achieving such a fine balance between the two is difficult but debutant director Anusha Rizvi succeeds in doings so very well. Peepli [Live] thus is a must watch…something that our countrymen should not miss!
The story of the movie: Natha (Omkar Das Manikpuri) and his brother Budhia (Raghuvir Yadav) are involved in farming and live in a small village called Peepli, somewhere in the state of ‘Mukhya Pradesh’. The brothers are about to lose their land as they are unable to pay a bank loan. At this juncture, they learn that the government pays one lakh to the family of all those indebted farmers who commit suicide. Budhia thus persuades Natha to do the ‘honour’ so that their land can be saved. However, somehow, the local journalist Rakesh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) gets to know about their plan and publishes it in the local newspaper. From here, the news reaches the national television channels whose reporters immediately head to Peepli and turn the issue into ‘breaking news’! What makes the story ‘spicy’ is the fact that by-elections are soon happening in the constituency in which Peepli falls and this constituency belongs to the chief minister Ram Yadav (Jugal Kishore) of the state! Media, state government, central government…everyone sees this as an opportunity to outdo their rival and shine among the masses!
Peepli [Live] is based in a small village and all the actors playing villagers look exactly like one. Most of them are real-time villagers (the lead Omkar Das is a Chhattisgarh native). Hence the film looks more authentic and believable. Similarly the ones playing news reporters have gone into the skin of their characters and pitched a lifelike performance! Having spoken about the actors, let’s move to the winner of the movie…the script! The best part is, although the film throws light on those living below poverty line, you can feel a connect as we have been aware of their issues and problems. Same goes for news channels and their TRP-driven overdrive which we all have been witnessing since years. However, simultaneously, the director gives a behind-the-scenes take of these people and that’s when you realize that we are living in extremely cruel and insensitive times!
The film gets dry at times but not boring at all. Right from the first scene, the film shall keep you hooked. The film sets the mood with the scene where the brothers argue as to who should die. The intermission point was truly hilarious! The scene where Natha gets a ‘Lal Bahadur’ from the district board and later a television from a political party brings the house down but also exposes as to what level people stoop down to publicize themselves. Then the entire government track (involving rivalry between the central agricultural ministry and state government) was very well shown.
Certain scenes deeply move you. For instance, the sequence where Natha hugs his goat. And not to forget, the mini-track involving an extremely malnourished farmer is the most touching part of the story. The film reaches a high when an important development takes place in the narrative. The climax, involving chasing of one another was similar to Priyadarshan movies but seems very true and believable. The last scene was unexpected but was totally justified.
Hats off to all actors for pitching in brilliant performances! The film belongs to Omkar Das Manikpuri! He hasn’t mouthed many dialogues but it’s his eyes, mannerisms and (adorable) looks that speak a lot! One of the best debuts this year! Raghuvir Yadav shines whenever he does an out-of-the-box film and Peepli [Live] is no exception! He has a major role in the first hour but gets sidelined in the second half (there was no option actually). Nawazuddin Siddiqui (who rocked in Black Friday, Firaaq and New York) gives yet another powerful performance. He has a major part in the narrative and he plays his part very well! An actor to watch! Mallika Shenoy as Nandita Mallik leaves a mark. She looked every inch a news reporter. A performance you’ll surely remember for a long time! Same goes for Vishal O Sharma as Nandita’s rival. What a performance!
Shalini Vasta as Natha’s wife and Farrukh Jaffer as Natha’s mother provide some funny moments throughout the film. Naseeruddin Shah as the agricultural minister Salim Kidwai was absolutely natural. Jugal Kishore makes an impact especially in the scene wherein he’s deciding under which scheme Natha can be helped! Sitaram Panchal as Bhai Thakur was excellent especially in the entry scene. The person belonging to casteist party, the digging farmer and the rest do a great job.
Music was very rustic and soulful. All songs leave a mark. Des Mera (by Indian Ocean), Chola Mati Ke (by Nageen Tanvir) and most importantly, Mehengai Dayain (by Bidwai village artistes) were very delightful. Mathias Duplessy’s background score was effective. Hemanti Sarkar’s editing was crisp and flawless. Make-up and costumes helped even more in giving the actors a true-to-life look. Shanker Raman’s cinematography was one of the best this year.
Anusha Rizvi, the writer-director deserves brownie points for her outstanding job. Her story was novel but at the same time relatable. Screenplay was gripping and she did a great job by not falling to commercial diktats. As for her direction, well, it was a surprise! Rarely can a debutant director do such a fine job (the last one to probably do so was Nandita Das in Firaaq). A brilliant job to say the least and hope she goes a long way!
And finally, the review would be incomplete without the mention of producer Aamir Khan! It’s thanks to his efforts and name that the film is today seen in large numbers and creating waves everywhere! Hats off Mr Perfectionist!
Some of the best scenes:
1. Natha and Budhia meet Bhai Thakur
2. Natha and Budhia arguing as to who should die
3. Nandita interviewing Salim Kidwai in the studio
4. Natha gets ‘Lal Bahadur’!
5. The intermission point
6. News reports interviewing any tom, dick, harry in Peepli about Natha
7. Natha gifted television
8. The digging farmer track
9. Rakesh and Nandita’s verbal argument
10. The last 20 minutes
On the whole, Peepli [Live] is truly satire at its best! Aided with a brilliant script and performances, the film will not only make you laugh but the sensitive handling will also move you! One of the best films of the year, this one is not to be missed! Go for it!!
My rating-**** ½ out of 5!
By Taran Adarsh, August 10, 2010 – 10:45 IST
When Aamir Khan produces a film, or is associated with any film in the capacity of an actor, be prepared for the unpredictable. Films like TAARE ZAMEEN PAR and 3 IDIOTS took pot shots at the education system in India and PEEPLI [LIVE], directed by Anusha Rizvi, is a tongue-in-cheek satire on the farmers’ suicides and the role of vote-hungry politicians and the over-enthusiastic, TRP-seeking desperate electronic media jostling for eyeballs.
Come to think of it, the concept [farmers' suicides] would instinctively translate into a serious, thought-provoking film. But PEEPLI [LIVE] takes a grim and solemn issue, turns it into a satire, garnishes it with populist sentiment and makes a far greater impact than a mere documentary, had it tackled the burning issue. In fact, like all Aamir Khan films, PEEPLI [LIVE] marries realism with a winning box-office formula most brilliantly.
|BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM
A sad fact of our society is that bad news attracts instant attention. In PEEPLI [LIVE], an impoverished man offers to commit suicide so that his family can benefit from a government grant – a dark subject matter which is dealt with in a delightfully humorous manner. In fact, it’s a terrific satire about a troubled India, the shining India, the industrialised India that’s rarely depicted on the Hindi screen.
PEEPLI [LIVE] focuses on the poorest of the poor in India and it not only highlights the plight of a farmer in a tiny corner of a giant country, but also throws light on the varied people who exploit the situation to their advantage, right from the politicians to the bureaucrats to the television reporters to the local people. In fact, PEEPLI [LIVE] makes a scathing attack on the functioning of media in India and how media persons, depicted as vultures, generally stoop to the lowest levels to increase the ratings of their television channel/show.
The best part is that at no point does the film gets preachy or starts offering solutions to the grave issue. It’s a mere tool that the makers have used to discuss bureaucracy, the rural and urban divide and lack of concern of the administration.
Final word? This tragi-comedy, a brilliant satire, is not to be missed.
Natha [Omkar Das Manikpuri], a poor farmer from Peepli village in the heart of rural India, is about to lose his plot of land due to an unpaid government loan. A quick fix to the problem is the government’s program that aids the families of indebted farmers who have committed suicide. As a means of survival, Natha chooses to die. His brother [Raghubur Yadav] is happy to push him towards this unique honour.
Local elections are around the corner and what might’ve been another unnoticed event turns into a cause célèbre, with everyone wanting a piece of the action. Political bigwigs, high-ranking bureaucrats, local henchmen and the ever-zealous media descend upon sleepy Peepli to stake their claim. Natha’s mother [Farrukh Jaffer] screams at his wife [Shalini Vatsa], while his young son urges papa to go through with the suicide so he can use the money to become a policeman.
One TV journalist, in a desperate search for a new angle, tries to examine Natha’s faeces to determine his emotional state. Nobody seems to care how Natha really feels.
PEEPLI [LIVE] tells the story of today: Rural society, the games politicians play, the bureaucracy and the manipulative electronic media. It’s a well penned and well executed film that deals with a serious issue in a witty and entertaining manner. Although very real, it creates a world full of vivid characters and incidents and keeps the viewer engrossed throughout.
First-time director Anusha Rizvi handles the subject material like a veteran. Her script is tight and witty and her handling of a difficult subject deserves kudos. What really sets the film apart is that it is unlike a typical Bollywood film. In fact, you can’t draw parallels with any film, past or present. And that’s what goes in favour of this film, since virgin subjects handled with utmost sensitivity and maturity is the order of the day. Even the finale is most appropriate and absolutely befitting the content of the film. In a nutshell, Anusha scores a sixer in her debut.
The music, composed by multiple artists, is Indian to the core and borrows heavily from folk music. The hugely popular – ‘Mehangayee Daayan’ – is the pick of the lot, without doubt. Cinematography is appropriate. Dialogue, laced with expletives, are truly fantastic and most importantly, real.
Manikpuri is brilliant as Natha. Raghubir Yadav shines as the opportunist brother. Malaika Shenoy [as the television reporter] is exceptional. Shalini Vatsa [as Natha's wife] is outstanding. Ditto for Farrukh Jaffer [Natha's bed-ridden mother]. In fact, the constant tu-tu-main-main between the saas-bahu is thoroughly enjoyable. Nawazuddin Siddiqui [as Rakesh, the local journalist] is natural. Vishal Sharma [as Kumar Deepak, the rival journalist] is top notch. Naseeruddin Shah is first-rate as the conniving, shrewd politician. The remaining cast – there’re lots of actors in the film – pitch in believable performances.
On the whole, PEEPLI [LIVE] is sure to ride initially on the strength and credibility of its iconic actor/producer Aamir Khan and once that is achieved, the powerful content is sure to speak for itself. PEEPLI [LIVE] is a film that would not only appeal to Indians, but is sure to reach out to audiences beyond India. Simply brilliant!