By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | January 11, 2019
Rating: 2 / 5
The essence: The movie is more a docu-comedy with director Vijay Gutte trying to highlight Dr. Manmohan Singh as he is. In that sense, he has been honest and Dr. Singh’s character shines out throughout.
The problem with The Accidental Prime Minister is Akshaye Khanna who plays Sanjaya Baru, on whose book by the same name this movie has been based. No, it is not his acting that is a problem; in fact after Dr. Manmohan Singh, oops Anupam Kher, Akshaye’s is the next best performance. You cannot get enough of him, both in the looks and acting department.
The problem lies with his suits. They are so dapper and so ‘in’ that they could not have been in vogue in 2004! That is where this film takes a deadly beating—the costume design. While pains have been taken to ensure Anupam Kher is well turned out as Dr. Manmohan Singh and Suzanne Bernert as Sonia Gandhi, the rest of the cast seem to be an afterthought. In a film that is based almost 15 years ago, the styling has to be looked into.
Sanjaya, the writer of the book, The Accidental Prime Minister, whose character is played by Akshaye is also the narrator in the film. He worked in the Prime Minister’s Office in the capacity as Dr. Singh’s Media Advisor and Chief Spokesperson from May 2004 to August 2008. And here is where Sanjaya, a journalist by profession, experienced firsthand the working of the PM and struck a close bond with him. But after the release of the book, as he narrates in the film, he lost out on the friendship of Dr. Singh for good!
Dr. Singh, as we all know was thrust with the responsibility of occupying the PM’s chair. What the writer shows us is Dr. Singh as he is. No duplicity. The film also highlights how he, in his own way stood up for what he wanted to do, despite the High Command’s interference, and how in his second term, his silence was forced out of him. This is something the writer, as his advisor, felt bad about and tried to change. But being politics, and since he was not a politician, he could do little to change Dr. Singh’s stance.
The movie is more a docu/comedy with director Vijay Gutte trying to highlight Dr. Singh as he is. In that sense, he has been honest and Dr. Singh’s character shines out throughout. There are a few unintentional hilarious moments (captured in Dr. Singh’s straight-forwardness and mannerisms) that brightens up the dull moments. The in-between scenes do not push the central plot forward.
Dr. Singh’s quote in an old interview, (“I honestly believe that history will be kinder to me than the contemporary media, or for that matter, the Opposition parties in Parliament,”) is slowly gaining ground. The Accidental Prime Minister is a pat on the back for Dr. Manmohan Singh, an attempt made by his friend to show the world who he really is.
Producer: Sunil Bohra, Jayantilal Gada
Director: Vijay Ratnakar Gutte
Star Cast: Anupam Kher, Akshaye Khanna, Arjun Mathur, Suzanne Bernert, Vipin Sharma