The Accidental Prime Minister starring Anupam Kher in the lead role is based on the book of the same title written by Sanjaya Baru, former media advisor to Dr Manmohan Singh during the UPA 1. The film, which released on 11th January takes us through the ten-year journey in about two hours, acting as a ready reckoner, lest we forget.
It was easy to see why Congress didn’t want The Accidental Prime Minister to release without them playing super-censor. Not because the movie distorted history, but because it depicts incidents exactly how they happened in those years – when the Indian cricket team were the World Champions and Arvind Kejriwal sounded sane.
The UPA era
Politicians in this country have often relied on the short memory of the voters. And Congress, too, is hopeful that Indians have forgotten the scam-tainted UPA years. But The Accidental Prime Minister reminds the viewers, who are also voters, of those years. And that is why Congress was up against arms. From the blackmailing of Left parties regarding the nuclear deal to the Radia tapes to Kapil Sibal’s zero loss theory, the film touches upon all these topics.
The movie reminds us how 10, Janpath sneakily tried to be the authoritative figure by creating the farce called National Advisory Council (NAC). The NAC was formed on 4th June 2004, soon after Dr Singh took oath, to advice the PM on. Sonia Gandhi served as its chairperson. She was also the chairperson of the UPA alliance and Congress party president.
How the portfolios were allotted. How The Family Whisperer Ahmed Patel was busy ‘fixing’ things. If Chidambaram wants Finance Ministry, Patel gets it done. If former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao should not be cremated in Delhi, Patel will get his mortal remains to Hyderabad for last rites, even if Rao had no family there. The man Friday will ensure The Family does not face discomfort.
Anupam Kher fits well into the role of Dr Manmohan Singh. He mimicks Dr Singh’s mannerisms quite well and does not reduce him to a caricature. The film makes the viewers aware of how Dr Singh deserves the history to be kinder to him than the media, but his silence has left a dent in his well-intentioned decisions.
Arjun Mathur, who plays the role of Rahul Gandhi acts well as the lost boy who is forced into the ‘family business’ under family pressure. His complete lack of regard for the Prime Minister’s post where he walks in to the PMO without appointment shows how The Family felt entitled. Suzanne Bernert as Sonia Gandhi fits well, with the stony expressions. It was also good to see Akshaye Khanna as Sanjaya Baru on the big screen after quite long.
One particular scene that stands out is the one where the Left parties arm-twisted Dr Singh out of the nuclear deal. The one which shows how the opposition became an ally for the nation but the ally became opposition for power.
Why should you watch The Accidental Prime Minister
As someone who saw the movie as a regular cinemagoer and not a film critic, I’d highly recommend the film because it is a well-made movie. A movie based on real-life incidents where most of the characters are based on real, powerful people from the power corridor, it does take fair amount of courage. As the election season heats up, The Accidental Prime Minister is definitely a must-watch. Because those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.