Actor Anupam Kher has unveiled the poster of his upcoming film ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ in which he bares an uncanny resemblance to the lead subject — former prime minister Manmohan Singh. Based on the book titled ‘The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh’ by Sanjaya Baru, who was PM Singh’s media advisor, it is expected to be a not-so-glowing portrayal of the economist-turned-politician’s 10 years in power. The film is scheduled to hit the screens in the winter of 2018, months before Lok Sabha elections are due in 2019.
The film will be one of the rare instances in which a character playing a former Indian prime minister has been made. In fact, there are few Indian films that feature characters portraying actual prime ministers, with most filmmakers preferring to play safe.
Here are some films that did feature former prime ministers:
Rajiv Gandhi in Kuttrapathirikai
Tamil movie ‘Kuttrapathirikai‘, directed by R.K. Selvamani, is about the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Guess who played the former prime minister in the film? Anupam Kher.
The production of the film began in 1991 and then its makers had to struggle to get a clearance from the censor board for years. In December 2006, the Madras High Court finally allowed the film to be screened only to adult audiences in the country. The film released in March 2007.
Lal Bahadur Shastri in Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan
This low budget film directed by Milan Ajmera was a biopic about India’s second prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri. It was about how Shastri participated in the freedom movement, his rise in politics and his tenure as prime minister.
Akhilesh Jain, a young theatre actor from Bhopal, played the lead character in a film, which featured better known actors Om Puri, Rati Agnihotri and Prem Chopra in smaller roles. It had a relatively controversy free journey with the production of the film beginning in 2013 and it was released to a tepid response in February 2016.
Jawaharlal Nehru in Gandhi, Jinnah, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Sardar and Nehru – The Jewel of India
India’s first prime minister is also the most portrayed on the silver screen, but mostly as a supporting character.
Roshan Seth played India’s first Prime Minister in Richard Attenborough’s highly acclaimed ‘Gandhi’. Benjamin Gilani played him in ‘Sardar’, a film about Vallabhbhai Patel, and English actor Robert Ashby played Nehru in ‘Jinnah’ a biopic of Mohammad Ali Jinnah. There was Dalip Tahil recently in ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ and Partap Singh played Nehru in a biopic on India’s first prime minister titled ‘Nehru – The Jewel of India’. The biopic wasn’t exactly a runaway success.