Wednesday, 29 June, 2022
HomeOpinionAny resemblance of Anupam Kher to Manmohan Singh is purely accidental

Any resemblance of Anupam Kher to Manmohan Singh is purely accidental

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Vijay Ratnakar Gutte’s The Accidental Prime Minister is a far cry from both Manmohan Singh’s life and politics.

Now that Anupam Kher-starrer The Accidental Prime Minister is out, any fear of the movie affecting the Congress’ image ahead of 2019 elections has been put to rest.

Vijay Ratnakar Gutte-directed The Accidental Prime Minister is a far cry from both Manmohan Singh’s life and politics.

The movie, based on the book by the same name by Sanjaya Baru who was Manmohan Singh’s media adviser in the UPA-1 government, begins with the confusion over the PM’s post in the wake of the alliance’s electoral win in 2004.

A Sonia Gandhi with a heavy accent, played by Suzanne Bernert, announces in Hindi that she will not take the PM’s office. Don’t blame yourself if you cringe at this and think this is possibly worse than the Englishmen saying ‘teen guna lagaan lagegi’ in Lagaan.

At this point, we are introduced to Manmohan Singh, played by Anupam Kher, her chosen man for the office.

Clad in a starched white kurta with a blue turban, Kher’s Manmohan act is great only in the makeup department. His robot-like walk and clenched teeth speeches make you wonder if this portrayal is meant to be comical or sarcastic. Kher’s political inclinations off screen only make this more confounding.

The movie shows him as an honest politician whose integrity is untouched by the dirty political game, but it fails to recognise his intelligence and foresight.

Also read: Why The Accidental Prime Minister matters to ‘chowkidar’ Narendra Modi

The movie is less about Manmohan Singh and more about Sanjaya Baru as his media adviser, played by Akshaye Khanna. The film sticks to the so-called turf war between the Gandhi family and Singh.

Karl Dunne’s screenplay never highlights the political tension, instead reduces it to juvenile dialogues like ‘victim of family drama’ and ‘prime minister ko kya kaam karna hoga ye NSA tai karegi’. Filmmaking is all about being subtle, but the makers of The Accidental Prime Minister have clearly never heard about it. They are so invested in Congress bashing that they reduced the movie to a farce. Don’t expect any Chanakya moments in this film, which are otherwise a part-and-parcel of politics in the Capital.

The only character who is granted some political shrewdness in the entire script is Ahmed Patel, played by Vipin Sharma. Patel is shown as Gandhi’s voice in the PMO. He is a pleasure to watch as he is the only character who gets to speak a few snarky lines.

Besides the one-sided bashing of the Gandhi family, the film does manage to show Singh’s struggle with the nuclear deal with a generous sprinkling of Left’s opposition to it. It also manages to show the numerous press conferences Singh held during his tenure, a rare feature in present times.

In the only standout scene in the movie, the camera follows Kher walking down a long corridor to the PM’s office on his first day after taking charge. During that walk, he remembers his previous achievements as chief economic adviser, finance minister and RBI Governor. The rest of the movie is a patchwork of badly-constructed CGI rooms and fade-to-black transitions.

Also read: Sadly for BJP, Indians don’t vote based on fictional works like The Accidental Prime Minister

The Veer Zara-like music playing in the background does nothing to add to final scenes where Singh and Baru part ways.

Akshaye Khanna tries hard to give Baru some depth, but the director fails him.

In the film, Baru’s publisher admits that a pre-election launch was specifically chosen to boost sales. One wonders if the producers of this film applied a similar logic for its release just three months before elections.

But if Anupam Kher calls this movie his life’s “best performance”, one can only worry about the future of Indian cinema.

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  1. There is hardly any Indian film which is completely flawless. The Accidental Prime Minister is also one of them. I remember seeing Kissa Kursi Ka after the hurly-burly of politics had cooled down and the Janata Government headed by Morarji Desai was in place. Kissa Kursi Ka was an insufferable boredom from beginning to end. I wondered what had so frightened Sanjay Gandhi as to burn the prints of this film. Film-making is business, and it is customary with filmmakers to laud their product in extravagant language. The Accidental Prime Minister may not be a great work of cinematic art, but it is certainly interesting enough for those who don not read newspapers between the lines nor watch TV news channels regularly.

  2. Umm…Dr.Singh’s ‘numerous press conferences…’ ? Really ? Shekhar Gupta seems to have outdone himself / fallen flat on his face with that one, as there were all of …three…yes, three… press conferences by Dr.Singh over a seemingly interminable ten…yes,ten….years.

  3. Throughout the so-called review, two facts stand out – 1. Deliberate film bashing; & 2. Chamchagiri of the Congress. One marvels at the kind of people who have infiltrated the media.

  4. What rubbish!! This is great film not just because of the great acting but also the way the story plays out. I think the writer’s predisposed bias is quite obvious! The film tells us what most already know, on how one family has tried to manipulate the country to its own end, and now we have a chance to see it in flesh

  5. The flim is superb flim and costume and character looks real ….political flims should be made be it Congress or BJP …. Congress may criticize it but calling ban on the flim will be an attract on freedom of speech which Congress advocates

  6. From the criticism that the movie is getting from the usual Modi baiters, it must have touched a nerve, because the movie is true.

  7. The remarks full of sarcasm against the movie “The Accidental Prime Minister” by the “The Print” is neither unexpected one & nor the worthy to be acknowledged. In fact it is pretty usual of “The Print” portray to discriminate anything shown against the Congress & specially its ruling Nehru-Gandhi clan. So yes its pretty obvious that they find Anupem Kher’s acting more robotic than in comparison to the Ex-robotic Prime Minister. Though I wonder how an such a highly literate person of the caliber of Dr.Manmohan Singh allowed himself to be remote controlled by the Gandhi clan, who simply soiled his unblemished & humble image towards their own family’s personal benefits. This is the bizarre reality of Indian democracy. Exposure of such reality is unacceptable to certain section of the digital & print media, who thrive on marketing the typical hypocrisy of inequality.

  8. In all fairness, this movie shouldn’t have been allowed to be released. It has a dialogue in which apparently Sonia Gandhi tells Manmohan Singh “how will Rahul take over in that atmosphere of scams”, or some words to that effect. Now, does the author of that book, or the film’s director have a proof that Sonia Gandhi indeed said those words?

    If the movie had fictional names for the characters, then fictitious words can be put; if it has REAL names, then their alleged statements should have documentary evidence.

    • Dear Sanjiv ji,
      If that is your take then effectively you are taping the mouth of entire media. Documentary evidence of verbal communication, is this possible? Is it possible to know in advance when these communications are going to take place? If somebody is a witness to something out of ordinary should he keep his mouth shut because of lack of ‘documentary’ evidence? And if that rule applies to all what is the ‘documentary’ evidence that Anil Ambani was favored in Rafale deal?

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