Anupam Kher and Akshaye Khanna starrer The Accidental Prime Minister has released today, but was cancelled at a Kolkata theatre due to security reasons amid protest demonstrations by youth Congress activists, police said. A similar incident occurred at Ludhiana where the film was also cancelled due to protests by Congress party members. The film is based on the book of the same name by Sanjaya Baru, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s media advisor. Baru’s book was published on April 20, 2014.
Anupam plays the role of Dr Manmohan Singh in The Accidental Prime Minister whereas Akshaye plays Baru, Suzanne Bernert that of Sonia Gandhi and Arjun Mathur of Rahul Gandhi. According to media reports, viewers at the Hindi Cinema near Kolkata’s Chandni Chowk area, the show was cancelled after screening for just 10 minutes on its first day. A senior officer of Kolkata police told IANS, “The afternoon screening of The Accidental Prime Minister has been cancelled due to security reasons. There was an agitation by a certain group outside the hall.”
Apparently, the State Youth Congress leaders claimed that the content and title of the film is derogatory towards the former Prime Minister and senior leaders of the party. Bengal Youth Congress President Shadab Khan said, “The tile of the film itself is derogatory. What did the filmmaker want to imply by calling Manmohan Singh an accidental prime minister? Close to 100 activists of youth Congress in Kolkata protested in front of the theatre. It is good the screening has been stopped.” When asked whether forced to cancel the screening of the film can be termed as a violation of freedom of speech, the leader said, “The agitation was held as the sentiments of our activists were hurt. However, we are not planning any other agitations here as of now.”
On the other hand, the Congress activists held a protest outside the Pavilion Mall in Ludhiana where the multiplex management did not start the show to prevent untoward incidents. However, the film was screened in Chandigarh. The Accidental Prime Minister has been mired in controversy ever since the film’s trailer has been released. There have been PILs lodged to ban the film and change the trailer. However, the court has quashed all such pleas. The film apparently shows Singh as a victim of the dynastic politics presumed at play in the grand old party and it shows the Gandhi family in not so positive light. The film’s trailer was also missing from the YouTube’s trending list which was finally restored after Anupam brought YouTube’s notice to the pressing issue. The film is directed by Vijay Ratnakar Gutte.
(With Inputs from IANS)