In one of the scenes in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Mere Pyare Prime Minister, a young kid and his mother dance gleefully to the tunes of Aamir Khan's 'Aati Kya Khandala' inside their shanty. The love between them is evident and leaves you smiling as well. Sadly, the film fails to give you more such affecting moments to tug your heartstrings.
Sargam (Anjali Patil) is a single mother to an eight-year boy Kanha (Om Kanojiya). The mother-son duo reside in the slums of Gandhi Nagar in Mumbai. Sargam's life revolves around little Kanha who also lends a helping hand to his mommy dearest in earning their livelihood. On the personal front, there's sparks between Sargam and Pappu (Nitesh Wadhwa).
The Gandhi Nagar residents are forced to complete their abulations in the open since there are no toilet facilities in the area. One day, Sargam is raped by a policeman on her way back home after relieving herself. Kanhu who is disturbed to watch his mother's plight and is concerned about her safety, takes it upon himself to built a toilet for her. Even if it means writing a letter to the Prime Minister.
To begin with, while Mere Pyare Prime Minister has a noble thought, it's the flimsy writing which spoils the show and leaves you highly disappointed. There is a lack of emotional connect at various places which is why you don't feel for the characters when they are in distress.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra fails to deliver as expected from someone who has made brilliant films like Rang De Basanti in the past. The amateurish direction and the unrealistic depiction leaves you heartbroken. At times, even melodrama seeps in. The dialogues barring a few fail to leave an impact.
Speaking about the performances, the talented Anjali Patil adds some gravitas to her wobbly role. Having said that, watch out for the scene where she dances in bliss abandon in a Holi sequence. It's one of the best sequences in the film.
Om Kanojiya stumbles under the burden of what's expected out of him since he's the main protagonist. The child looks a tad uncomfortable while mouthing some dialogues. The other kids- Ringtone (Adarsh Bharti), Nirala (Prasad) and Mangla (Syna Anand) add some fun and make you wish they had some more screen-time. Makrand Deshpande lands up with a forgetable role and so does the cameo by Atul Kulkarni.
Pawel Dyllus's cinematography has nothing new to offer. Meghna Sen's editing is not up to the mark. Rekha Bharadwaj's soul-stirring voice in Kanha Re is music to the ears. Bajaa Bajaa Dhol Bajaa too lends an palatable flavour.
While one of the earlier films- Akshay Kumar starrer Toilet: Ek Prem Katha too revolved around the theme of open defecation and sanitation, Mere Pyaare Prime Minister falls short of pushing the envelope further. Rather than a heart-touching story, the film merely ends up as a contrived, dry commentary on a social issue. I am going with 2.5 stars.