PM Narendra Modi movie cast: Vivek Oberoi, Manoj Joshi, Prashant Narayanan, Anjan Srivastav, Darshan Kumar, Zarina Wahab, Rajendra Gupta, Boman Irani
PM Narendra Modi movie director: Omung Kumar
PM Narendra Modi movie rating: Two stars

Sometimes the arrival of a movie in theaters becomes a marker. The biopic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, called, what else, the “Prime Minister Narendra Modi” comes out the day the BJP celebrates its historic mandate to govern India for a second consecutive term.

The star of Vivek Oberoi could not be released during the elections, but it does not matter, she is here now and, without a doubt, the faithful will come to her, bathed in joy and delirium, singing, along with the film, Modi, Modiiiiii, Modi, Modiiiiii.

Because there is nothing else to do: the film makes sure that it is, at all times, afraid of its subject, man and child, while tracking the amazing trajectory of Narendra Damadordas Modi of a son of ‘chai-wala (Gupta), for a ‘pracharak’ of the RSS, to its promotion and ascent, in Gujarat, and then on the national stage, ending with its oath in 2014.

Those who have swallowed the set of myths will see the film as a reaffirmation of their faith. And who cares for the unbelievers, while they pick up their jaws from the floor while the film goes from one flagrant white wash to another: that as a young man, Modi left a possible marriage alliance and went to the Himalayas to do ‘tapasya’; that the riots after Godhra could not be controlled because the “neighboring states” did not “help”; that messiah Modi was a “secular” helper during earthquake relief operations; and so on.

After a point you stop counting. The film is not a mere biography, but it is a hagiography without apologies and without qualms. What else could it be?

Take your warning note (which is summarized in the opening credits) about taking creative liberties very seriously. Those who have lived the days when ‘Jai’ Modi was growing and creating a space for himself in the political firmament, with the help of his ‘Veeru’, Amit Shah (Joshi; this coupling ‘Jai-Veeru’ comes as a Special mention in the movie, I’m not kidding) You may wonder if there is an alternative universe in which he lives.

In keeping with his tone and tenor, the film is completely reverent towards his subject, and projects him as noble, self-sacrificing and wise beyond his years, even when he was very young, whose love for his own ‘ba’ (Wahab ) is never more than love. He has for Bharat Mata. The Opposition is shown as weak and venal (Manmohan Singh does not have a single moment to speak, he just keeps “maun”); it shows that a corrupt businessman (Narayanan) is in collusion with a complicit journalist (Kumar) while plotting the fall of Modi; Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and their cohorts come out as ineffective stranglers.

Even the colleagues of his own party, except perhaps for Vajpayee, are coded, as he cuts an inexorable band to the top post. Boman Irani, like the legendary industrialist from Parsi who brought Tata Motors to Gujarat, having left Bengal, is more visible than the former Prime Minister, who had such a great hand in Modi by being able to get where he finally arrived.

Like Modi, Oberoi is told at the beginning of the film, “aapko abhineta nahin, net hona chahiya tha,” and then proceeds to faithfully read a relaxed and mediocre script. Hardly a frame passes without the protagonist dominating the screen, which reflects quite well what happened in real life in the last five years. This is where the reel and the real intersect. Of course, there is not a single subtle note in the two hours and some execution time: everything is underlined in lines like “Violence has no religion and religion has no violence”; ‘Chai bechta tha, unki tarah desh nahin’, ‘baap ka naam nahin, buss aap ka kaam’, and this one, which surpasses all, ‘Modi ek soch hai; aap sab mein hai modi ‘.

The movie does not offer dubious points, nor if-ifs, nor gray areas. The “Hindutva” is not mentioned, only “Hinduism”, which is also, as he kindly points out, a “soch”. Like a sticky bio-photo, ridiculously bad, it lives in a confusing and posterior to the truth territory. However, as a hagiography, genuflecting on the altar of man, it is perfect. It is uncritical, not questionable, lacking in facts, high in rhetoric. And there is nothing accidental about it.


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