Is there anything like too much of Modi? Not really! Not now at least. The mood is buoyant. Mr Modi has won a humongous mandate and emerged victorious in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Who would have thought that Omung Kumar’s film would actually get the perfect release date. Just as Modi readies himself for a second term, his biopic is sure to bring out his cheering squad to the theatres.
The thing about biopics in India is that they are almost bhajans. Modi is revered, put on a pedestal, eulogised.
He is a figure who can do no wrong, forget that – he can’t commit a mistake even in his sleep! It is a hagiographic portrayal sans nuance or balance. This one is by a Modi Bhakt, for Modi Bhakts; there are no two ways about it.
The approach is unapologetic and relentless. The movie opens with Vivek Oberoi’s father Suresh Oberoi’s voice over telling us how “ye ek insaan ki nahi but ek desh ki kahani hai.” Modi is great and he was born this great. From showing him selling chai on the train to the story of how a young Narendra played with crocodiles, it’s all there.
Within 10 minutes we have a bearded Vivek Oberoi take over as a young Modi ruminating about what to do with his life. He wants to renounce worldly pleasures to become a sanyasi and even though his parents don’t approve he sets off for the Himalayas to “find himself.”
The chapter about his wife is conveniently forgotten.
Once he has awoken to his real mission to do “Desh seva,” we trace Modi’s meteoric rise from being a Sangh pracharak to the chief minister of Gujarat. The reverential tone only becomes louder. The Gujarat riots were an attempt to destabilise his government, we are shown. The US denying him his visa was a conspiracy hatched by the Opposition. He mouths lines like “na khaaunga na khane dunga” and “main chowkidar” standing up against corruption and red tape. Luckily for us, Vivek Oberoi doesn’t mimic PM Modi but he still is wooden and a bit too stiff for comfort. However, no such courtesy is extended to Manmohan Singh or Rahul Gandhi who are reduced to caricatures for instant laughs.
While our Prime Minister Modi is an ongoing developing story, the film remains static.
It set out its object right from the disclaimer when it said that its intent was to inspire patriotism, nationalism and reverence for our great nation. The film ends with Modi’s 2014 election win, but the real story we can see unfold outside the cinema halls. It’s a fanboy tribute at best. One might love Modi and be an admirer of his brand of politics – the overwhelming response he got in the elections is proof – but the film is a jumla with a weak screenplay and tacky direction.
1.5 Quints out of 5!
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