‘My best act, I am not backing off’: Anupam Kher on Accidental Prime Minister row
Actor Anupam Kher on Friday struck a strident note amid the controversy around his movie, The Accidental Prime Minister, a film about Congress leader Manmohan Singh’s tenure as prime minister between 2004 and 2014.
“I am not going to back off. This is my life’s best performance,” the national award-winning actor tweeted.
The movie’s promo, released on Thursday, sparked a war of words between the Congress and BJP with the Opposition party calling it ‘fake propaganda’ and the ruling party describing it as a “riveting tale of how a family held the country to ransom for 10 long years.” The BJP also tweeted the trailer from its official handle.
The actor, responding to howls of protest from the Congress that have described the storyline propaganda, said even Singh will agree after seeing the film that it was a 100% accurate depiction.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh has so far declined to comment on the movie’s trailer that was released on Thursday.
Singh’s party hasn’t demanded a ban on the screening, but that hasn’t stopped the party’s state leaders from alluding to curbs, one way or the other.
In a widely-publicised communication, some Maharashtra leaders have demanded that the film producers organiser a special screening for the state Congress leaders before its release. Else, it handed out a threat to resort to ‘other options’ to stop its screening. Another Congress leader in Madhya Pradesh hinted that the state may not permitted but has been contradicted by the party leadership in Delhi.
The 63-year-old actor told news agency ANI that the film is based on facts as chronicled in a book by Sanjaya Baru, Manmohan Singh’s media advisor between 2004 and 2008. “If we make a film on the issue of Jallianwala Bagh or The Holocaust or any historic incident, we can’t change the history or the facts. That’s what we have done here,” he said.
“The book is written by a man who was very close to the prime minister at that time. This book was either ignored or people moved on after its release. So why this hue and cry now?” he questioned.
The book had been criticised by the Congress and Manmohan Singh’s PMO when it was released back in 2014 too. Dr Manmohan Singh’s eldest daughter had hit out at his former media advisor Sanjaya Baru over his book, accusing him of betraying the trust of the PM and piecing together, what she had described as, “gossip and unverified quotes”. But there had been others like former external minister Natwar Singh who confirmed that the Congress president did get to see government files.
Kher further said he is just an actor in this movie and has tried to play his part in the most efficient way. “I have worked so hard in this movie for my look and everything that even my mother could not identify me in this look,” ANI quoted him as saying.
The trailer begins with Sonia Gandhi appointing Singh as the Prime Minister after the 2004 elections. The focus is the power dynamics between Gandhi and Singh, with present Congress president Rahul Gandhi presented as the successor in-waiting.
(Watch The Accidental Prime Minister trailer here)