Expectedly the biopic of Manmohan Singh has become a political hot potato between Congress and BJP. The ruling party has strongly promoted its case through the film 'Accidental Prime Minister' starring Anupam Kher as Singh.
BJP is using the film to attack Sonia Gandhi and her children of running the country by remote control and giving no choice to Singh for functioning independently. Some Congress activists tried to force a pre-release screening by the producer, but the party has realised that such attempts at censorship would only make the film more popular. The book is based on an insider account by Singh's media adviser Sanjaya Baru. Congress loyalists argue that Baru had high ambition of becoming the principal secretary to prime minister and wrote the book out of frustration. Akshay Khanna plays the role of Baru.
It is the season of political biopics in the country. The Shiv Sena has just released the trailer of 'Thackeray', a film on the life of its founder Bal Thackeray, who dominated Mumbai politics and daily life for long. The film's producer is Shiv Sena leader in Parliament Sanjay Raut and the script was approved by Thackeray' son Uddhav, the current party president. Interestingly, while Thackeray attacked South Indians, Muslims and Hindi-speaking migrants in Mumbai, ironically Thackeray is played on screen by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, a migrant from Uttar Pradesh. But there are demands that some inflammatory dialogue should be cut by censors.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has apparently given his permission for a biopic to director Omung Kumar who has made one on Olympic star Mary Kom. The entire story and screenplay has been vetted by those close to the prime minister. Interestingly the inner circle had one reservation - his first name - though they found everything fine with the hero Vivek Oberoi, who is a follower of Modi. The Bollywood actor will be now using his original name Vivek Anand Oberon in the film credits reportedly to please people close to Modi. Modi regards Swami Vivekananda, the great monk, as his inspiration. Though originally the film was planned for release before general elections, now it may be out by October.
Another biopic being planned on Modi may focus on his role in taking bold action against Pakistan through surgical strikes.
In Andhra Pradesh, a song to be used in director Ram Gopal Varma's new film 'Lakshmi's NTR' has directly attacked present chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. It is a biopic of Telugu film legend and chief minister N T Rama Rao. Naidu had dethroned NTR as chief minister after the old thespian married Lakshmi Parvati, a younger woman. (Naidu is NTR's son-in-law.)
As more and more books are written by politicians themselves or by associates and journalists about politicians, the biopic industry has enough stock to feed upon.