Not that Vijay Ratnakar Gutte is daunted by the savage tone of some of the reviews. But the first-time director has vowed to never again make a political film. “And I mean never, ever,” Gutte asserts. “This has nothing to do with the controversies surrounding The Accidental Prime Minister. I have no interest in making political films. I took up The Accidental Prime Minister as a challenge. And I think I succeeded in doing what I had set out to do,” says Vijay Gutte.
He has shut the negative reviews out of his mind. “I can see them. But I decline their validity in my life. There is so much positivity about the film. In many centres, the film has opened too far bigger audiences than expected. I was told my film was for multiplex audiences. I don’t really understand this segregation. I am new to this profession. I think Rs.6.5 crores on the first day is fairly impressive for a film that does not feature any superstar.”
Gutte is also new to the backlash which his film has received by some critics. “I can understand the criticism. But personal remarks in the guise of criticism, I don’t understand. The film is an adaptation of a book that hit the shelves six years ago. It was an elaborate account of Dr Manmohan Singh’s relationship with his press advisor. There were separate chapters in the book, and the story unfolds in a similar format on the screen. It wasn’t easy to do. I couldn’t have done this without Kher Sir.”
The debutante director can’t stop singing his leading man’s praise. “Kher Sir has largely played extroverted boisterous characters. Here as Dr Manmohan Singh, he had to be subdued, totally underplayed. Some people are sniggering about his stiff hand movements in the role. Let me inform them that we studied Dr Singh’s walk in several news clips and he actually walked the way he was shown in the film with his hands held stiffly in front of him. I may be a novice. But would an actor of Anupam Kher’s experience hamper and kill his performance with an exaggerated physical trait?”
Gutte says the walk isn’t the only true facet of Dr Manmohan Singh’s personality as seen in the film. “All that we ’ve shown is in the public domain. It is very well-known that Dr Singh was treated in a particular way by the Congress high command. When that is shown in the film why is it a matter of such outrage for some?”