"The Accidental Prime Minister" Review: A half-baked film with poor production values

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

After a long wait, The Accidental Prime Minister has finally released. Directed by Vijay Ratnakar Gutte and written by a team of writers led by Mayank Tewari, The Accidental Prime Minister is based on the 2014 memoir of the samename by Sanjaya Baru who served as India’s former two time Prime Minster Manmohan Singh’s media advisor during his first term from 2004 to 2009 under the Congress led United Progressive Alliance. The film stars Anupam Kher and Akshaye Khanna as Manmohan Singh and Sanjaya Baru, respectively. It costars Anupam Kher, Akshaye Khanna, Suzanne Bernert, Aahana Kumra and Arjun Mathur.

The Accidental Prime Minister stops short of vindicating former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh despite some conscious efforts to present him in good light at crucial junctures in the film. As a film, it seems to suffer from budgetary constraints. The low production values become the film's biggest undoing. The film fails to leverage the language of cinema to present the events in Sanjaya Baru's book and merely settles to retell the book's account as plainly as possible. This can be partly attributed to the director's inexperience at handling the complex subject matter at hand. As much as I hate saying this but the film's creative team could have learnt a lot from how Hollywood approaches political films. Even a series like House of Cards has so much more to offer. I mean a lead character's repetitive breaking of the fourth wall alone can't make a film engaging for its entire duration. Yes, Akshaye Khanna tries his best to add color to the boredom that surrounds the PMO helmed by a soft-spoken Prime Minister like Manmohan Singh. Akshaye Khanna succeeds in getting into the skin of the character and delivers his best performance in years. But the performances alone can't save a half-baked film like this one.

All those interested in Baru's account would be much better off reading the book than Gutte's adaptation of it.

Rating: 4/10

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