In arguably the most challenging role of his career, Vivek Oberoi steps into the shoes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his biopic. From opening up on the journey of the movie, expressing sadness about the lack of support amid controversies to being confident about the success of the movie, the actor answered it all in an exclusive interview with Republic TV.
The film is at the centre of a controversy with the Opposition leaders accusing it of being a ‘propaganda’ film ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Moreover, petitions are being filed in the courts to seek a stay on the movie.
However, the Bombay and Delhi High Courts recently disposed of the petitions and Vivek is delighted, “I’m very happy. I’d like to thank the judiciary. I always had faith in the system, and the system has blessed us with this positive decision. And now we’re looking forward to all the audiences to come out and see the film. I’m sure they’ll love it.”
'PM Narendra Modi' was completed almost in record time. After being announced in January, the movie is gearing up for release in less than three months.
With the time constraints, how he did the team ensure that movie didn’t suffer? Vivek said, “Well, we worked day and night. We suffered, that’s why the film didn’t suffer. We took the brunt on us and made sure we made a quality film, a good film and a film that people would be proud to see, an inspirational film.”
It’s never easy to make someone look like another celebrity, more so in this case, when it’s the PM.
How did Vivek manage it all? “It was an incredible journey. It used to take 5-6 hours of putting on the prosthetic make-up every single day and then two hours of getting it off, so it was seven hours a day, plus 12-14 hours of shooting every single day. So I was running on fumes, two-three hours of sleep, non-stop for 38 days, shot the film at a crazy speed. And really proud to see what we’ve made, so excited that people have given it so much support. There’s so much excitement around the film to go see it.”
‘PM Narendra Modi’ was shot in Gujarat and Uttarakhand and the conditions were most challenging for Vivek, “I think the most challenging part about the movie was to make it in such extreme climates in such a short time frame and without compromising on anything.”
The year had already seen biopics on former PM Dr Manmohan Singh, ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’, and ‘Thackeray’ on Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. Vivek was also asked how ‘PM Narendra Modi’ is different from them.
The actor had an interesting answer, “Because the person who it’s being made on is different from everything else that you’ve seen. I think he’s an incredible story to tell. PM Narendra Modi’s story is an amazing journey, from being a Chaiwala, selling tea at a small railway station in Vadnagar to becoming one of the world’s tallest leaders and that story is a fascinating tale.”
The story was so convincing for the ‘Saathiya’ star that it didn't take him much time to give his nod for the movie, “It took me a very long time to decide that I wanted to do this film, all of 30 seconds (laughs). I was offered the film by my friend, my partner, Sandeep Ssingh. He said, ‘Bhai, I want you to do this film.’ I heard it, in 30 seconds I said, 'yes’. And that’s how the journey began.”
Vivek was asked about the ‘award-wapsi’ gang on one hand and movies like ‘Padmaavat’ being supported amid the troubles it faced, the actor replied, “It’s sad. And I’d like to reach out to all those people, who call themselves artistes, who scream and shout about tolerance, freedom of press, freedom of speech and upholding rights in terms of democracy. This is the time, don’t make it about convenience. This is the time to come out there and support this film. Just because this film or the person that it’s being made on doesn’t match your ideology, that doesn’t mean you can change the fundamental spirit of the argument.
"So where is everyone today? I’m asking everyone. Everyone who went out there and took a selfie with the Prime Minister, everyone who’s being screaming and shouting about saving democracy, start talking. Start talking about this film and help us release the film. Let me see it.”
When asked why should one go to the theatres to watch 'PM Narendra Modi', Vivek looked extremely confident, “It’s a great film and the way people have loved the theatrical trailer. It’s crossed more than 2 crore, 10 lakh views, which is pretty big. I think people will love the film.”
'PM Narendra Modi', directed by Omung Kumar, releases on April 5.
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