The women of Peepli… well, there are no women in Peepli. Yes, there are daughters and mothers and wives, and to them Natha is purportedly “son and brother.” Natha is in dire straits; he has taken a loan from the bank and now cannot repay it. In an attempt to keep their lands from being auctioned off, Natha and his brother, Budhia, go to the local strongman cum political candidate for advice.
The politician recommends that one of the brothers commit suicide, for while the government does not provide debt relief or agricultural subsidies for farmers, it will give a sizable payout to the family of a farmer who has committed suicide. And therein lays their salvation. The family will have money and what have the two brothers done with their lives anyway? Let one sacrifice himself for the greater good.
Natha is a simpleton and his somewhat more savvy brother convinces him that since Budhia is the one who has a family, Natha must be the one to commit suicide—only he can save them all. Obligingly, Natha agrees. Later on that evening, after the brothers have drunk themselves into a stupor, a visiting reporter hears their story. The following morning’s headline foretells the death of farmer Natha and a media circus (as well as a political one) descends onto Peepli. The various parties and partisans push and pull, and attempt to decide whether or not Natha should live.
The three female characters in the film are all shrews. From Natha’s wife, who badgers and assaults the brothers, to his mother who complains and swears, to the reporter who appears to be unconscionably chasing leads, there is not a single positive female figure in the film. Inflation herself is a witch, wreaking havoc and ruining the farmers’ lives, leading them to their early graves.