'Peepli Live' recovers cost even before release

New Delhi : Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan’s “Peepli Live”, which will perhaps be the first non-commercial Hindi film to hit over 600 screens when it releases Friday, has already recovered its investment by selling its satellite rights for Rs. 100 million.

Made on a budget of approximately Rs.100 million (including marketing costs), journalist-turned director Anusha Rizvi’s directorial debut is a satire on the farmers suicides and the subsequent political and media reaction.

It will hit 600 screens in India and 100 in overseas markets, except Britain.

“In Britain we have partnered with Artificial Eye (again first for a Hindi Film), a premium distribution chain that looks into art house main stream release and own the largest art house exhibition chain called Curzon theatres. We will release ‘Peepli Live’ in Britain on September 24,” said a source close to Aamir Khan Productions.

The cast of the film is a mixed bag – many actors are tribals from Bhadwai village in Madhya Pradesh, while other cast members are from late playwright Habib Tanvir’s theatre troupe Naya Theatre, including the main lead Omkar Das Manikpuri, who plays Natha in “Peepli Live”.

The film also stars Naseeruddin Shah, Malaika Shenoy, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shalini Vatsa, Farrukh Jaffer, Vishal O. Sharma, Aamir Bashir, Sitaram Panchal and Yugal Kishore.

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).

If Aamir’s earlier three commercial films were blocbusters, “Peepli Live” has earned a reputation for itself in the global film circuit. The movie 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 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.

The film has also put the spotlight on over 1,000 villages across India that are called Peepli.

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