Bollywood producers said yesterday Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to be the subject of what looks set to be another flattering film about his life.
Earlier this year the Election Commission found a previous film so hagiographic that in April it ordered the release be delayed until after elections concluded on May 19.
The new movie, Mann Bairagi: Jab Mai Mujhse Mila (Recluse Heart: When I Met Myself), was announced by the production house of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, one of India’s top filmmakers.
“I am sure it will connect and inspire our today’s youth deeply,” co-producer Mahaveer Jain told the Hindustan Times daily.
The film delayed earlier this year by the Election Commission, PM Narendra Modi, was panned by most critics with one reviewer saying it should be used to “study how cinema can be used for propaganda”.
A similar fate befell an online series, Modi: Journey of a Common Man, with the Election Commission ordering that streaming be stopped until voting ended.
Modi also recounted his life story from tea seller’s son to premier in a programme with British television adventurer Bear Grylls aired on the Discovery Channel last month.
The announcement of the new movie, scheduled for winter release, coincided with Modi’s 69th birthday which was widely covered in the media - including his lunch with his nonagenarian mother.
A bakery in Modi’s home state Gujarat celebrated by baking a 700ft-long cake weighing a supposed seven tonnes.
The prime minister got a “digital” gift from his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on his birthday.
The gift is a digital compilation of Modi’s journey divided into four chapters – “Childhood, Young NaMo, Modi and For the First Time Since Independence”.
The childhood chapter recalls Modi’s acts of bravery including how he swam across a lake infested with crocodiles to hoist a flag on a temple when he was just seven or eight years old.
“Even as a young boy, Narendra never thought of any work as ‘big’ or ‘small’,” claims the infographics titled “The Story of Mother India’s beloved son”.
Like most children, his mother instilled a sense of values in him.
When he went on to become the chief minister of Gujarat for the first time, his mother asked him to promise not to take any bribe, claims the digital booklet.
It also recalls incidents of a young Modi meeting soldiers at Vadnagar railway station while he was selling tea, during the 1962 Indo-China war.
The second chapter deals with the indecisiveness of “young Narendra” when he was searching for a way to serve the country and was undecided on whether to become a saint or a soldier.
How he wandered in the Himalayas and his keen interest in writing finds mention in this chapter.
“Even as a child, he wrote a play called Peelu Phool which emphasized on transcending caste barriers,” says the booklet.
It also recounts his early tryst with elections for the Ahmedabad civic body in 1987 and the Gujarat assembly polls in 1990.
Chapter three is all about the Modi of Gujarat.
How Gujarat was turned around, how its economy was put on a growth trajectory under his chief ministership, how in spite of being a new administrator he dealt with the massive earthquake of 2001 – all are part of this.
It also talks about the introduction of solar power, water grid and the Sabarmati river front in the western state.
It could not be complete without the mention of his contribution to the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which he visited yesterday.
The last and final chapter is about Narendra Modi since 2014 when he became the prime minister after a landslide victory and the ‘many firsts’ he introduced.
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