Veteran actor Anupam Kher will play Manmohan Singh in an upcoming Bollywood adaptation of Sanjaya Baru’s The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh. According to an Economic Times report, the movie’s release is timed for December 2018, a few months ahead of the Lok Sabha election in 2019. Directed by first-time filmmaker Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, the as-yet untitled production has been written by Hansal Mehta (Shahid, Aligarh) and produced by Sunil Bohra.
Bohra told ET, “The research on the movie is already over. Auditioning (for the remaining cast) is in its final lap. The movie will hit the screens next year.” The movie will focus on the workings of the Prime Minister’s Office, and there is no word yet on who will play Sonia Gandhi.
The movie is an official adaptation of Baru’s 2014 memoir. The rights were purchased from the publisher, Penguin Random House India, in 2015, Bohra told Scroll.in.
Baru worked at the PMO between 2004 and 2008. He claimed in his memoir that Singh’s functioning was repeatedly hampered by Indian National Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi’s interference. The book was predictably dismissed by the Congress party, but it helped reinforce the perception that Singh was a “silent” prime minister who wasn’t allowed to fully grow into his role during his two terms.
Anupam Kher’s casting is significant in more ways than one: the acclaimed actor has emerged as a strong pro-Bharatiya Janata Party voice and highly vocal baiter of liberal supporters. “Acting the role of anyone in contemporary history is extremely challenging, as comparisons are bound to be instant and inevitable,” he told ET.
Another self-declared nationalist, Madhur Bhandarkar, has wrapped up his new film Indu Sarkar, which is set during the Emergency and stars Kirti Kulhari as a poet. Indu Sarkar also features Kher and will be released on July 28.