BIOPIC On Former PM Manmohan Singh Stirs Controversy

AHEAD of  worldwide premier, the trailer  of Hindi movie  titled “The Accidental Prime Minister” on the soft spoken, self-made noted  economist  turned politician Dr Manmohan Singh, who was PM of the  UPA Government from 2004 to 2014, has drawn  flack  from the 134 years old AICC.As India’s  oldest political  outfit  was in the Process  of formation  of government  after defeating the  Atal Behari headed  NDA government, Dr MMS was not in the news to head the UPA  dispensation. Then AICC President Italy born Sonia Gandhi surprised the media world besides the Indian populace that the low profile Dr MMS would head the Government. Ruling BJP says Dr MMS was never empowered to exercise his constitutional assignment as the PM and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) were remote controlled by her Party’s  supremo. The script is based on a book penned by Dr Sanjaya  Baru ,an economist & political commentator born in Hyderabad , who was Dr MMS’ Press Secretary for four years from 2004.There was  no objection to the book  available in bookstalls, say some BJP leaders. Soon after viewing the trailer, some Congress leaders say the film should be banned alleging distortion of facts. Congress had vociferously defended  Padmavati, the Hindi movie  on the life of the  legendary Rajput queen, despite protest by the Rajput community. Rajputs allege she has been denigrated in the movie. Defending the Accidental Prime Minister Bollywood’s  veteran actor Anupam Kher, who plays the titular role says, the film showcases his “life’s best performance”.The film should be seen as a creative endeavour and not an attempt to support a political party. The actor said playing former prime minister Manmohan Singh is the most challenging role of his career and he was initially reluctant to take up the project as he was aware it will land into controversies.”I felt that it is a very powerful story of modern India’s political decade and I’m getting a chance to be a part of it as an actor. I am someone who has always reinvented himself as an actor,” Kher said at a press conference in Mumbai.He was provoked  after Maharashtra Youth Congress asked for a screening of the film prior to its release, a demand they later withdrew. When informed that Maharashtra Youth Congress had withdrawn its demand, the actor said, “It is good if they have changed the thought process. It is fantastic. It is a great sign of maturity.”Kher dismissed that the film is his way of supporting the BJP.”I have done 515 films, there are not even as many political parties. If I have to support a party I can do it on any platform. I will not try to make a film for that,” he said. Earlier during the day, Kher had tweeted that he was not going to “back off” due to the controversy.”I am not going to back off. This is my life’s best performance. Dr Manmohan Singh will agree after seeing the film that it is a 100 per cent accurate depiction,” he tweeted. The  book depicts Singh as a victim of Congress’ internal politics ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The trailer drew sharp reactions from the Congress, which dubbed it a “propaganda film”, but Kher said it was a bold attempt to look at real events through the medium of the biopic for the first time in India.

“For the first time in independent India, we made a revolutionary film on real people with real names…This is the age of biopics; why can’t we make a film on what happens inside the PMO.”Citing the example of Oscar-winning actors such as Ben Kingsley, Daniel Day-Lewis and Meryl Streep, the actor said they have received appreciation for playing political figures, “Then why is my work not seen as art?… It is the most difficult role of career. I researched for six-seven months before taking up the role.”Kher had earlier referred to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s recent statement that freedom of expression is a fundamental right. This was in response to a party leader objecting to the language used to describe his father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in the Netflix series “Sacred Games”.In the press conference Kher has reiterated his earlier comments saying : “We talk about freedom of expression, but when we practice our right, people try to curb it. Cinema has to move on, we have to move on with maturity and allow people to make films. BJP’s official Twitter handle shared the link to the trailer of the film and has opined the film factually depicts how a family held the country to ransom for 10 long years. Was Dr Singh just a regent who was holding on to the PM’s chair till the time heir was ready with obvious  reference  to Rahul Gandhi who has  taken  over as AICC President from his mother Sonia Gandhi ?

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