Anupam Kher On 'Accidental Prime Minister': What's The Problem In Releasing Political Film During Elections
Bollywood & TV

Anupam Kher On ‘Accidental Prime Minister’: What’s The Problem In Releasing Political Film During Elections

Anupam Kher plays former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in The Accidental Prime Minister, based on the book of the same name by Singh’s media advisor Sanjaya Baru. The book was controversial, and the trailer of the film says it will overtake the book as far as controversy is concerned.

HIGHLIGHTS

Anupam Kher plays the role of former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in The Accidental Prime Minister.

The film is based on the book The Accidental Prime Minister by Sanjaya Baru, Singh’s media advisor.

The movie is directed by Vijay Gutte and takes many potshots at the Congress party.

How do you take a controversial book and make a film out of it – that you know is going to hit all the right notes as far as controversy is concerned? You take a lesson in filmmaking from Vijay Gutte and Anupam Kher. Bonus points if you can release the film in a year when the world’s largest democracy goes to elections. Better still: if you can trash the Opposition in a hit job meant solely for entertainment. The Accidental Prime Minister, based on the eponymous book by Dr Manmohan Singh’s media advisor Sanjaya Baru does all of that and more.

The trailer of the film was released today. The Accidental Prime Minister has a motley of actors playing the key players of the Nehru-Gandhi family and Anupam Kher stepping into the shoes of Dr Manmohan Singh.

“History will be kinder to me than the media,” is an oft-quoted sentence from the former Prime Minister. Looking at what Gutte and Co. have done with the trailer, looks like Singh will not have to wait. This makes him, the accidental prime minister, the hero who bravely fought the family, the villain.

In The Accidental Prime Minister, Anupam Kher, known for his allegiance to the ruling party, tries hard to get Manmohan Singh’s mannerisms right. Coming from an actor of Kher’s stature therefore, his impression of Manmohan Singh comes across as nothing more than an attempt at caricaturing the former prime minister. Everyone will go gaga over how Kher got Singh’s walk right but the emasculation gives it away. Like the book, the film tries to make Singh stronger by showing him weak and struggling to stay upright as the first family puppeteers him to bend. In the near-three-minute trailer, Kher and director Gutte, through the cast, take numerous potshots at Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and pretty much everyone else from the family.

“Mahabharat mein do families thi. India mein toh ek hi hai (The Mahabharat had two families. India has only one),” begins the trailer. Akshaye Khanna (back in action after Ittefaaq) plays Sanjay Baru in this film. He mouths his dialogues with a veiled sneer. Suzanne Bernert essays the role of Sonia Gandhi in this dramatised version of The Accidental Prime Minister. The disdain for the Gandhi family on the part of the filmmakers is a little hard to hide. In just the way the actors who play members of the Gandhi family say their dialogues here is offensive to say the least. Offensive to even a layman who has absolutely no stake in whether Congress or the BJP makes it to the throne in 2019.

The timing of The Accidental Prime Minister couldn’t have been better. It was just yesterday that we saw the trailer of yet another biopic on yet another politician on the web: Thackeray, on the life of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray. In the trailer of Thackeray, Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the titular role takes a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a reference to his 56-inch chest warcry. And today, we have Anupam Kher walking around like a marionette in his blue turban and white beard, trying hard to narrate to his audience the kind of atrocities the ‘ruling family’ meted out to Indians in the decade from 2004 to 2014.

Anupam Kher, a PM Modi sympathiser, who is vocally saffron, has taken to Twitter to speak of Manmohan Singh as the person who ‘ruled the country’. In his tweet on the poster of The Accidental Prime Minister featuring him as Singh and Akshaye Khanna as Sanjaya Baru, Kher wrote, “He ruled the country… He wrote the book…” The agenda is clear. The timing, better.

The BJP just bit dust in three of the states where it enjoyed a strong hold: Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The Congress took over. PM Modi accepted his defeat. But the 2019 bugle has just been blown. The general elections are next year. The BJP needs something more than its election manifesto and cow politics. Babri Masjid and Ram Temple could not win them the most coveted seats in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Uttar Pradesh too looks a little tough, given the anti-Yogi Adityanath sentiment in the state. So why not resort to the best form of mental infiltration? Emotional atyachaar.

Hindustan mein jab tak cinema hai, log ch***** bante rahenge.


– Ramadhir Singh, Gangs of Wasseypur 2

In 2013’s Gangs of Wasseypur 2, Tigmanshu Dhulia spoke some of the truest words ever spoken: “Saala Hindustan mein jab tak cinema hai, log ch***** bante rahenge.”

How do you take on a country of a billion and a half without being blunt about it? You make a film. But can it sway votes in favour of Anupam Kher’s party? Next year will tell.

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