‘The Accidental PM’ Critics’ Review: A Shoddy Propaganda Film

Film: The Accidental Prime Minister
Director: Vijay Gutte
Cast: Anupam Kher, Akshaye Khanna

Read excerpts from reviews of The Accidental Prime Minister here:

"Whatever else one says about Khanna’s Baru, whose regard for his abilities and influence over Singh is staggering, it is clear that at least one actor had fun on the shoot... The idea of a lameduck prime minister gets a literal manifestation in Kher’s body language, cancelling out whatever sympathy is accorded to him in the script. There are fleeting references to Singh’s hardscrabble childhood and his “genius” as an economist, but neither the screenplay nor Kher’s performance is sophisticated enough to give a measure of Singh’s personality... Although it tries to put on a gossipy, insider tone and create a this-is-how-it-happened feel, The Accidental Prime Minister never evolves into anything more than a broadside against the Gandhi clan.  " - Nandini Ramnath, Scroll "The Accidental Prime Minister is an out-an-out propaganda film, created for the specific purpose of making the former prime minister look like a weak, spineless man, a puppet whose strings were controlled by The Family (the word is blipped out, but there is no hiding the movement of the lips). Sonia Gandhi, Rahul, Priyanka and the power-hungry caucus around them are shown as the real power behind the throne... Kher minces through the film, his voice reedy, thin, shaky, his body language nervous and unconfident: at no point does Kher’s Singh look like a man who inhabited the PM ki kursi for two full Lok Sabha terms with any conviction. " - Shubhra Gupta, The Indian Express "In a couple of months, another national election will be upon us. Rahul Gandhi is the face of his party. The Accidental Prime Minister is an invitation for audiences to see him as comical and indecisive and a little foreign. It’s a political ad... This is a slice of propaganda so blatant that it may as well have been made by the ruling party. Kher is a BJP ideologue and is married to a party MP... Kher playing Manmohan Singh is excellent Trojan horse casting: once he’s inside that voice and that unthreatening manner, he can slowly undermine him while appearing to be sympathetic. It’s a sly performance, with the actor subtly turning Singh’s light voice into a meek bleat and exaggerating his halting speech patterns. The impression is of an ineffectual man in the grip of the Gandhis, unable to control his party. " - Uday Bhatia, Mint

Also Read: ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ Has More Than One Accidental Hero

"Kher, despite his love for political posturing, remains a fine actor. But his portrayal of Singh is a ludicrous caricature: right from the way he tries to ape his voice (it is so ill-suited on Kher that you’re always reminded of the actor, not the character), his gait (where he seems to be doing a bizarre glide – his wrists disconnected from his shoulders), and his reticence (materialising in Singh standing silently in a corner, like a child denied his daily quota of candy).Any film with such a simplistic and banal interpretation of the central character can only go as far. Some films want to tell a story, others want to stoke a feeling – The Accidental Prime Minister is the latter. It exists to confirm your bias – over and over again – in the laziest ways possible. " - Tanul Thakur, The Wire "The timing of The Accidental Prime Minister is no accident. But everything else about the film is. It seeks to capture an important juncture of Indian political history. But devoid of cinematic finesse and totally clueless about how to go about the onerous job, it hits the skids at the very outset and never recovers.  " - Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV

(Source: Scroll, The Indian Express, Mint, The Wire, NDTV.

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