Anupam Kher is proud of his portrayal of Dr Manmohan Singh in "The Accidental Prime Minister".
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chose not to respond to reporters seeking his reaction to the trailer of "The Accidental Prime Minister", the film based on the eponymous book by his former media adviser Sanjaya Baru. But the man who plays the prime minister has plenty to say.
Actor Anupam Kher claims that the audience would love his portrayal of Manmohan Singh and also believes that the film should be India's entry to the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars.
Resistance by the Congress to the film's release followed the launch of its trailer on Thrusday. The film shows Manmohan Singh dealing with pressures from the Congress leadership — Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi — and even offering to resign.
Calling it a propaganda film, the Congress accused the BJP of trying to capitalise on it at a time the country is preparing for the national election next year. But for the BJP, it's a "riveting tale".
The veteran actor, however, defended the timing saying "if a film is about the government and the prime minister, it makes perfect sense to release it before elections".
"The film is based on a book written by the media adviser to the prime minister. The book has been in the public domain for four years and nobody has objected to it. The project was announced two years ago, and every newspaper wrote about my look. The film has also got the censor board stamp," Mr Kher said.
It's unfortunate that in our country protests get more attention than the performances or the idea, Mr Kher lamented.
"Of the 500-odd films that I have done, this has been the most difficult role. I have put my life into it so these protests are upsetting," the actor said.
This film, according to me, should be India's entry to the Oscars and I should be nominated for my performance, Anupam Kher added.
"Everybody who has been seen the trailer is saying 'Wow you look exactly like Manmohan Singh'. Even my mother didn't recognise me. But nobody is talking about that. So those who are protesting should suggest my name for the Oscars, for being so close to Dr Manmohan Singh. Such portrayals are awarded the world over. Daniel Day-Lewis got it for Lincoln, Meryl Streep for her performance as Margaret Thatcher, Ben Kingsley got it for Gandhi…" he said.
Mr Kher also referred to Congress president Rahul Gandhi's recent statement that freedom of expression is a fundamental right. This was in response to a party leader objecting to the language used to describe his father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in the Netflix series "Sacred Games".
"I had read Rahul Gandhiji's tweet where he spoke about freedom of expression. So I think he should scold these people and tell them they are doing wrong."