Praise flowed and promises were made at an event to launch the poster of an upcoming biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mumbai on Monday. The film, titled PM Narendra Modi, has been produced by Suresh Oberoi and Sandip Ssingh’s Legend Global Studio and stars Vivek Anand Oberoi as Modi. Omung Kumar, who has previously made Mary Kom, Sarabjit and Bhoomi, will direct the cradle-to-the-present film. The producers hope it will be released before or during the crucial Lok Sabha election in April or May.

Bharatiya Janata Party member and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was the chief guest at the poster launch, leaving no doubt about the party’s support for the project. “This is the beginning of a new chapter in history,” Fadnavis declared. “Under his [Modi’s] responsibility, India is not only reaching great heights, but he is also fulfilling the hopes and dreams of every Indian. I have full faith that an inspirational film will be made...about a poor man, a chai seller who became a sansayi, then an organiser and a leader.”

Fadnavis added that he was “very excited” about the biopic, and wanted the film to come out “tomorrow itself”. However, production on the biopic will begin in the end of January, and the release will be over the next few months, said producer Sandip Ssingh, whose credits include Rowdy Rathore, Aligarh and Omung Kumar’s Sarabjit and Bhoomi.

“The starting point for the project was the very thought of making a film on the prime minister,” 32-year-old Ssingh told Scroll.in after the event. “A team of around 12-15 researchers have been working on the film for the past three years.” While Singh has written the story and Anirudh Chawla the screenplay, the dialogue is by Harsh Limbachiya, who has worked extensively in television.

Although Ssingh would not confirm whether he has sought Modi’s endorsement for the film, he said that the story will begin at the beginning, with Modi’s childhood. It is a “jeevan yatra”, a life’s journey, Ssingh told Scroll.in. “The biggest challenge was to make a film on a serving prime minister,” he added. “We will shoot all over India – Mumbai, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.”

Apart from Vivek Oberoi, no other actor has been named in the cast. The biopic appears to be aiming for as wide a film-going public as possible. The poster, with the tagline ‘Deshbhakti mein hi shakti hai’ (The real strength is in patriotism), has been launched in 23 languages.

Vivek Anand Oberoi (the actor previously known as Vivek Oberoi) shared the film’s poster with the hashtag ‘Akhand Bharat’, or undivided India, on Twitter. Oberoi will be “playing a man who has rebuilt an entire nation in five years”, the anchor said at the event.

The actor, who made his debut as a Mumbai gangster in Company in 2002, declared that he hoped to become “a better actor and a better human being” with the biopic. “Narendra bhai is one of the tallest leaders in the country and the world, and to bring his persona and his inspirational qualities on the screen is a challenge,” Oberoi said.

Director Omung Kumar said that it was a big challenge to “make a biopic on a man who is one of the most prolific leaders in the history of India”. Kumar added. “I hope I will do full justice to the film. We are very excited but nervous too.”

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis (third from right) was the chief guest at the poster launch in Mumbai.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis (third from right) was the chief guest at the poster launch in Mumbai.

This is the second biopic to be made on Modi. In 2018, actor and BJP Member of Parliament Paresh Rawal had announced that he would be producing and starring in a film about the prime minister. “Let me assure you nobody else can pull off Narendra Modi’s role,” Rawal told India Today. However, there has been no further news on the project, which was supposed to have gone into production in September 2018.

The year 2017 saw the film Modi Ka Gaon, starring the prime minister’s lookalike Vikas Mahante as a character named Nagendra. Released on December 29, 2017, two weeks after the Gujarat Assembly elections, the film celebrated the Modi government’s policies. Modi Ka Gaon was written and produced by BJP member CA Suresh Jha.

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Modi Ka Gaon (2017).

Ahead of the Modi biopic, another film that is critical of the opposition Congress party will be released on January 11. The Accidental Prime Minister examines the tensions between former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress party president Sonia Gandhi and claims to expose the ways in which Gandhi interfered with the functioning of the Prime Minister’s Office. The film is adapted from Sanjaya Baru’s memoir of the same name. The non-fiction account by Manmohan Singh’s former media adviser was published on April 20, 2014, a month before Modi was named prime minister. The film’s trailer was approvingly tweeted from BJP’s official Twitter handle along with the statement, “Riveting tale of how a family held the country to ransom for 10 long years. Was Dr Singh just a regent who was holding on to the PM’s chair till the time heir was ready?”

Also out on January 11 is Uri: The Surgical Strike, a fictionalised tribute to the Indian Army’s military operation on terrorist training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 2016. The film’s trailer has the line, “Ye naya Hindustan hai, yeh ghar mein ghusega bhi, aur marega bhi” (This is the new India, which will not turn the other cheek).

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The Accidental Prime Minister (2019).