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Exclusive: The Accidental Prime Minister Director: No One Will Waste His Two Years To Make A Propaganda Film

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The much-awaited film The Accidental Prime Minister has been making headlines ever since the trailer came out. Directed by Vijay Gutte, the film is based on the book of the same name, written by Sanjaya Baru, who served as the media advisor of Manmohan Singh from 2004 to 2008. Anupam Kher is playing the role of Dr Manmahon Singh and is receiving a lot of attention for his striking resemblance to the former Prime Minister. Akshaye Khanna plays Baru’s role in the movie. The movie is set to hit the screens on January 11.

Before the release of the film, we got to meet the director of The Accidental Prime Minister, Vijay Gutte, and he shared his viewpoints on why it’s not a propaganda film and how Anupam Kher and Akshaye Khanna came on-board for the project.

Why did you choose to make a film on the book, The Accidental Prime Minister, considering it could have backfired as it’s risky to make movies on political figures?
My first instinct was a NO because I wanted to make an entertaining or a humorous sort of a film. My producer told me to read the book and he said that if ‘you don’t like it, it’s ok’. I read the book and I liked it. Then, I met the writer of the book, Sanjaya Baru, and that’s when my whole perception changed.

It was quite a unique experience and those seven days that I spent with him, I felt I was a part of the whole story. He has been with Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Pranab Mukherjee, so just imagine how listening to the whole story would have been interesting for me. I felt excited and I have mixed my vision of making an entertaining film and I took this political background.

Akshaye Khanna told us that the movie will evoke a reaction from the audience and it will haunt them, but in a nice way. What do you have to say about it?
The audience will get emotional at some points and they will also laugh at certain points in the film. It’s a very sweet film and it’s not a thriller as people are expecting. It’s going to be a light film.
Playing the role of Manmohan Singh is not an easy task.

Do you think Anupam Kher is given complete justice to the role?
In that age bracket, we have only a few actors and Anupam sir as an actor, he is incredible. Him saying a yes for this role was a blessing for me. One more thing, his smile matches to Manmohan Singh. He has done a lot of characters – be it a doctor or a father – you name it and Anupam sir has done it.

BJP tweeted the trailer of the film and post that, some people started tagging the movie as a propaganda film. What do you have to say about this?
It’s not a propaganda film and it can’t be. No filmmaker will waste his two years to make a propaganda film. If it’s made, it will not true to be its creativity. I have stuck to the book and whatever the content of the book is what the film has. The book is in the public domain since 2014. The content of the book was carried by the channels. We announced the film one and a half years ago and we didn’t hide to make the film. We shot in Delhi and we have shot in Mumbai.

Whenever there is any political film, there are high chances that you will face a hindrance in the release. Did you sort everything before you working on it and what were challenges if we talk about legalities?
What I understand from my knowledge is that if you have a censor certificate in your hand, you are sorted legally. We have already shown it to CBFC and we have taken all the cuts and beeps. We have justified when CBFC asked us questions by showing them the book. Our job is done and now, no one can stop us.

Were you somewhere ready for the backlash that followed post the trailer came on the internet?
No, I was expecting it happen when we released the poster one and a half years ago. If there was an issue, they should have raised it back then. Now, what’s the point.

Why Akshaye Khanna?
I never thought that he will say a yes to the film. It took me 6 meetings to convince him. He is a very intelligent actor. Kher’s concern was the film shouldn’t look like a propaganda film.

Getting Akshaye on board was a challenging part. He had all the questions and I had to justify him every aspect, be it his looks or dialogues. He is a person who is very straightforward and even on sets, he would say things up front, and it saves a lot of time.

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