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Manmohan watches, loves Munnabhai

The PM says the movie captures Bapu's message of truth and humanism, report Vinod Sharma & Aloke Tikku.
None | By Vinod Sharma and Aloke Tikku, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 26, 2006 10:50 AM IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had sold Gandhigiri in Durban early this month.

But it was only on Wednesday evening that he finally got to see the Sanjay Dutt blockbuster, Lage Raho Munnabhai.

And Singh was impressed. "It captures Bapu's message of the power of truth and humanism," he said at the end of the film.

On his return from South Africa—where he talked about Lage Raho as "a young man's discovery of the universal and timeless relevance of the Mahatma's message"—Singh had told his aides that he would like to watch the sequel to Munnabhai MBBS.

Unlike his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Singh comes nowhere close to fitting the description of a film buff. An aide said Singh only watched films of national importance and had said that he wanted to watch a film on Ambedkar.

But the day after the cabinet reshuffle, Singh relaxed, watching the movie with his family and a select group of officers, including Principal Secretary to PM TKA Nair and Media Adviser Sanjaya Baru.

Minister of State at the PMO Prithviraj Chavan was the only ministerial colleague at Panchvati, the conference room that doubles as an auditorium at the prime minister's Race Course Road residence.

This is only the third movie that Singh has watched since he took over as prime minister. Shyam Benegal's Bose: The Forgotten Hero was the first, Akbar Khan's Taj Mahal was next in November last year. Khan had then come over at Singh's invitation with his entire crew.

Officials pointed out that the occasion also doubled as a demonstration of a new digital-projection technology that can check piracy—films are digitised and sent through a satellite link to individual servers in theatres.

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