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Thursday, September 21, 2023

PM Narendra Modi Movie Review: My Neutral Perspective as a Viewer

The PM Narendra Modi biopic, starring Vivek Oberoi in the titular role, has been a subject to many critiques and controversy.

Earlier, India’s election commission stopped the film’s release about the life of the prime minister on the eve of the first day of voting in the country’s nationwide elections.

Many opposition political parties was a hagiographic depiction of Modi’s life which was disguised political advertisement and should be banned until after the last phase of voting on 19 May.

The film finally saw the day of light and released, post the Lok Sabha elections in India, in which Narendra Modi got re-elected.

It portrays different stages of the Indian leader’s life including his childhood as a chaiwala selling tea at railway stations, his time as a wandering sage in the Himalayas.

It also aims to highlight the years he spent disguised in a beard and turban as a fugitive during the 1975 emergency when India’s civil liberties were suspended.

I finally saw the film and here is my neutral and honest opinion on it.

Seeing the Leader’s Spiritual Side

Prior to this biopic, I was not fully au fait about the Prime Minister’s life leading up to his current title. Hence, for me, this was quite eye-opening.

Many critics criticised this film as it apparently covers aspects which are already of public knowledge.

However, observing his journey as a ‘sanyasi’ and getting to know his spiritual side and how that subsequently led to his political career, was very interesting.

In fact, I find the dichotomy of politics and philosophy quite fascinating yet he has maintained that balance up till now.

Somehow, that part is quite relevant to me. It helped to shine some perspective on my life and how there is so much to discover about myself.

Moments of Modi ji with his mother (played by Zarina Wahab) are heart-warming to watch… These scenes will certainly bring a tear to the eye.

Each segment of this film fills hearts with pride and patriotism.

Stepping into the shoes of Narendra Modi is a major task and to me, Vivek Oberoi is convincing enough.

From the speaking style to body language and prosthetics, Oberoi gives his best shot as an actor to essay the part.

Showcases the Most Inspiring Moments

The movie was critiqued for completely showing a clean portrayal of Modi and does not document a wholesome journey.

It is important to understand that the makers have not set out to make a whole-rounded biographical film, but chose the most inspiring excerpts of the PM’s life.

If we think about it, from a neutral perspective, the story of Modi is extraordinary.

Would we ever have thought that a young, underprivileged Gujarati boy who sells chai would end up becoming the Indian prime minister one day?

But it has happened and this itself is extraordinary and covers various chapters of Modi’s life in a cohesive and quick way.

As a British Indian who keeps an eye out for Indian politics, I appreciate Narendra Modi’s vision and his position in life.

As such, director Omung Kumar is no stranger in exhibiting real-life and astonishing stories.

In Mary Kom, we observe how a woman overcomes all hurdles to pursue her aspirations and subsequently representing her country on an international platform.

Then in Sarbjit, an Indian woman fights for the justice of her brother for over 20 years after he strays across the border and gets captured by the Pakistani army.

Many of these true narratives revolve around the themes of hope, aspirations and patriotism.

In that case, PM Narendra Modi is no different. These strands are portrayed well, though the technical tropes are weak.

From the editing to the camera-work, the cinematic appeal is not quite up to the mark.

Though certain sequences like the Godhra riots and the wide-shot of Modi ji seeing Gujarat burning are quite impactful.

If only the technical aspects were neater and cleaner, this would’ve enhanced the cinematic appeal.

Further Improvements to be Made?

The second-half unfortunately drags and it gets quite repetitive.

Also, the movie abruptly concludes, which is due to poor editing.

Whilst it covers a wide-spectrum of Modi ji’s life, it would’ve been interesting to see how the leader and his spouse reached an understanding of his life circumstances.

Moreover, the movie shows the opposition political party in an unfavourable light.

It would’ve been better to see a balanced, unbiased perspective by exhibiting the human-side to the opposition party.

Overall, PM Narendra Modi is quite eye-opening and fascinating as we understand the lifestyle and background of the leader.

No, it isn’t a propaganda film but at the same token, it is no masterpiece… Though it never really claimed to be one.

I felt enlightened after watching the movie.

I’m sure there are many who will also be curious to know the real-life story of India’s Prime Minister.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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