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Food Insecurity and High Inflation in India finds its place in Mainstream Cinema;Movie Peepli Live Sensitively covers Farmer Suicides due to Debt Distress

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India has seen a high  number of Farmer Suicides in recent times brought upon by high debt and unremunerative farming methods.India has a high percentage of its population around 70-80% dependent on agriculture which only contributes 10% to India’s GDP.With small land holdings and crops dependent on the seasonal monsoons,farmers frequently find themselves in distress.High populuation has also contributed to small  plots which are insufficient to feed a farmer’s family.Influx of foreign seeds and fertilizers has done little to alleviate the rural distress.It has led to high costs of agricultural inputs which require a high yield crop outpot everytime.India’s famour economic reforms of 1990 has failed to touch its agricultural population.Vested interests have managed to block the entry of Supermarket chains and reforms in Rural Supply Chains.This leads to high inefficiency and cornering of profits by middlemen.This has led to a large number of cases of suicides which the government has failed to stop.

Peepli Live highlights the issue of Farmer Suicides in a Sensitive and Humorous Manner

Bollywood as India’s massive Film Industry is commonly known as,has not been known to bring forth serious issues.While early movies used to dwell on Rural India,the 21st century Indian cinema has decoupled itself from the Indian masses.Most of the movies these days with inane story lines are shot in foreign locales depicting lives of an extreme minority on Indians.Peepli Live is  a refreshing exception to this trend.With no famous stars and no “song and dance’ routines around trees,the movie has humourously covered the issues of farmer problems in India.The story covers the lives of  2 brothers  and their families as they try to solve the problem of high debt.With imminent seizing of their land by a bank due to a loan default,the brothers decide on a plan to suicide as the only way to save their sole means of livelihood.The government gives a grant of Rs 1 lakh (~$2,200) to a family of a farmer who has died of a suicide.The news gets publicized through a local news reporter leading to the descent on the national media circus on the hapless family.Sundry politicians join the media circus trying to earn brownie points  from the suicide drama.The film ends with a touching shot of the India’s construction workers who are paid a pittance by India’s real estate and construction industry.The film has a single rural song with the opening lyrics as “sister,my husband earns a lot but the inflation witch is eating us all”.As the movie shows,the politicians and bureaucrats are  not at all concerned or willing to do anything about this voiceless and helpless  majority.Must watch movie from the Bollywood industry in a long time.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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