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Cut out George Bush and Manmohan Singh

bollywood Updated: May 02, 2012 14:38 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
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Anupam Kher is ready with a Peace Plan and he intends to approach the US President George Bush to solve the world crisis. Yes, Bush and not the current President Barack Obama because when his upcoming flick, Mr Bhatti On Chutti, was conceived, Bush was in the White House. He’s grappling with the Afghan and Iraq wars and the beginnings of an economic meltdown that left our Mr Bhatti, a Chaplin-esque mix of Peter Pink Panther Sellers and Mr Bean, extremely disturbed.

“Yes, the film was delayed due to money and censor problems. Rather than pretending otherwise, I’m going to announce the fact in the promos and justify why it’s Bush and not Obama,” asserts Kher, quick to add that there is no Bush look-alike in the film and that the references to him are not an attempt to ridicule.

Neither does he hope to interact with the former Head of State as part of the promotional campaigns of the comic caper that opens on May 18. “If anything, it was the allusions to then President Bush and our own Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that resulted in the film getting the no-no from the censors in its first viewing.”

The scene in question had the patriotic Bhatti trying to explain to Shakti Kapoor, a sceptical Pakistani, why India is the best. In the conversation, there are references to ace cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and several other great personalities, including these two political leaders of the time.

While the censors were okay with the mention of Sachin, they insisted on Singh and Bush’s names be muted out.

“It’s ridiculous, given that films on Bush, including Death Of A President (2006), have been made using real footage,” reasons Anupam, adding that thereafter his film was sent to the revising committee that passed it without any cuts.

He adds, “I’m glad that though delayed, (director) Karan Razdan’s laugh riot revolving around a banker from Nallasopara, Mumbai, who ends up in London hoping to help Bush make the world a better place, is finally coming to the theatres. Who knows, if it works, like Mr Bean, we could also spin off a Mr Bhatti franchise.”

Mr Bachchan for Mr Bhatti
In Mr Bhatti On Chutti, Anupam Kher is a die-hard fan of Amitabh Bachchan. In the film, he stands outside the superstar’s residence on Sundays and watches his movies numerous times. So, it seemed like a good plan to rope in Big B for a cameo. “He has always been warm and kind. When I told him about this character, he graciously agreed to do one scene,” says Anupam, adding, “It was just a couple of hours’ work. With Mr Bachchan there were no retakes.”

Anupam insists that having Bachchan play himself elevates the film. “My character also has a Sridevi fixation from Shola Aur Shabnam (1992). We had tried to get Sridevi to make a guest appearance, but she was busy,” reminisces Kher.