By Arundhuti Banerjee
Mumbai: “The Accidental Prime Minister”, a forthcoming film centred around former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his journey with the Congress party, became a talking point since its trailer released. Actor Akshaye Khanna, who plays a crucial role in the movie, sees the reactions as a debate and not a controversy.
The trailer has raked up talk about the film’s portrayal of a political party and has raised questions on whether the filmmaker has a political agenda.
Asked about the response to the trailer and the controversy around it, Khanna told IANS here: “Look, what you call controversy, I am calling a debate and in a democratic country, the debate should be on.
“Whether it is for or against the matter, a debate must be embraced. I appreciate such practice because only people have the right to decide if such a film should be made or not.”
In the film, veteran actor Anupam Kher plays Manmohan Singh. Akshaye essays Sanjaya Baru, who worked as a media advisor of the Prime Minister from 2004 to 2008, and later wrote a memoir of his experience of working at the PMO in a book that was released in 2014.
Akshaye said: “This is the first time that a film is made on a politician of recent times, taking the real name, and (showcasing) all the real incidents that are very much in the public domain and vividly remembered by the people.
“Of course, people will have their opinion and they must express them in all the mediums — whether it is on social media, mainstream media or by writing an article about it.”
“Having said that, I do not think these events as controversy. We are living in a democracy,” added the son of late actor-politician Vinod Khanna.
Also releasing this month is a film titled “Thackeray”. It is based late politician Bal Thackeray, the founder of Shiv Sena.
Why are political themes interesting for filmmakers and actors?
In Akshaye’s opinion, it is simply because, “it is interesting”.
“There are a lot of political decisions that have been been made in the government that have changed the lives of common people. These kind of stories offer an insight into the thought behind such decisions.
“Through films, people not only get access to interesting stories and information but also a powerful visual experience,” he added.
“The Accidental Prime Minister”, also featuring Suzanne Bernert, Aahana Kumra and Arjun Mathur, is slated to release on January 11. It is directed by Vijay Gutte.
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at [email protected])