First-time director Vijay Gutte’s The Accidental Prime Minister, the trailer of which was released today, is about the tenure of Manmohan Singh as prime minister of India from 2004 to 2014.
The film, based on the book of the same name by Manmohan Singh’s first media adviser, former editor Sanjaya Baru, stars Anupam Kher in the titular role.
Watching the trailer, it is clear that the film takes a critical stand against the Congress party which was in power from 2004 to 2014 as head of the United Progressive Alliance. However, Kher argued that the film should not be seen as one dealing with politics.
“I don’t think we should look at it from the point of view of [politics],” the veteran actor and long-time BJP supporter said at the launch of the trailer at a suburban multiplex in Mumbai. “Let’s respect the art and leave the interpretation to the audience. That’s very important. This film has to be perceived as a film. It should not get into a controversy. Unfortunately, in our country we look at it from the political prism.”
He cited the example of the Hollywood classic Lincoln (2012) on Abraham Lincoln. “When we see Lincoln, we don’t ask the actor whether he sides with the Conservative (sic) party or the Democratic party. We don’t ask these questions. We just say, ‘Wow, what a brilliant performance’!” he said.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Kher went on to find a romantic link in the film and cited the examples of two more Hollywood classics: “This is a love story, according to me, between Sanjaya Baru and Manmohan Singh. Their relationship is the film. Once you see the film, this is what will come across. Just like there have been love stories made against the backdrop of Titanic (1997) and Pearl Harbor (2001). This is basically their story from the period 2004 to 2014.”
Kher was vocal against Manmohan Singh’s second tenure as prime minister from 2009 to 2014 and took active part in the Anna Hazare movement which targeted the UPA’s government over corruption.
During the conversation, Kher was asked whether his opinion about Manmohan Singh had changed after doing the film. In reply, he said, “I think Manmohanji should think what he thought about me earlier and then after watching the film.”
The Accidental Prime Minister will be released on 11 January 2019 in Hindi and English.