By Arundhuti Banerjee
Mumbai, Jan 3 (IANS): National Award winning actor Anupam Kher, who essays the character of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in “The Accidental Prime Minister”, says cinema and politics cannot be separated since one reflects the other.
The film, even before its release, has grabbed a lot of eyeballs and faced criticism for the projection of its central character and for being timed to hit the screens before the 2019 general elections.
Anupam told IANS: “Look, when the audience is going to the theatre to watch a film, they are regular cine-goers and movie lovers. They are not entering the hall as a voter.
“But yes, when they come out, the film might linger in their mind. But then, cinema and politics cannot be separated, because they are a reflection of each other.”
The actor further said: “A filmmaker or an artiste really cannot figure out why people are voting for a political party. Some voters are loyalists; some are making a list of good and bad to choose a party and the government. How much can a film could contribute to that?
“Having said that, I personally believe that when people go to vote for choosing a government, they do not decide anything based on the impact of a film.”
The movie is based on an eponymous book which was released during the 2014 elections when the political transformation happened and the nation voted the Bharatiya Janata Party government over the Congress-led UPA government.
Does the film intend to influence the voters to form an opinion on the Congress party by showing Singh in a critical light?
“It is ridiculous to say that people choose a political party and a change happened in the government because of Sanjay Baru’s book! Similarly, it would be silly to say that this film will change the result of the election this year,” replied the 63-year-old actor.
Directed by Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, the film also features Akshaye Khanna, Aahana Kumra and Arjun Mathur.
The book gives an insight of the Prime Minister Office (PMO) as well as the personal journey of Singh. And the film’s trailer gives a glimpse how the narrative will emphasise on the contradiction and difference of opinion between the PM and the Congress Party, especially its then president Sonia Gandhi.
In fact, such elements in the book also received some criticism in 2014.
Asked if highlighting on the conflict between the former PM and Congress party president is the core content of the film, Anupam said: “No, no, the story is a very humane tale of a man, who was born into a middle-class family and with his merit, he excelled and became a Prime Minister.
“He is a man with all heart, a true patriot, well read, humble man who went through a huge struggle and felt vulnerable as a Prime Minister of the country.”
Commenting on the party president and PM conflict, the actor added: “It was never a secret. It was rather an open secret that has come out. It was there in the book as well!
“Everyone knew that he was chosen to become a Prime Minister by the Congress party and he was the least expected candidate. Our film is shown from the point of view of a media advisor in the PMO.
“It would be appreciated if audiences watch the film, as a story.”
“The Accidental Prime Minister” is slated to release on January 11.
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at [email protected])