The Accidental Prime Minister: Is The Trailer True To The Book?
The Accidental Prime Minister: Is The Trailer True To The Book? 
(Photo: Arnica Kala/The Quint)

The Accidental Prime Minister: Is The Trailer True To The Book?

In politics, as in cinema, facts are often sacrificed at the altar of drama and entertainment.

The Accidental Prime Minister film, based on the eponymous book by Sanjaya Baru, is a potent cocktail of both. Needless to say, the trailer warrants a fact-check. Do the more explosive moments in the trailer stay true to the book?

An important strain that runs through the trailer is Baru’s opinions about events being depicted as actual conversations in the film. Case in point – Sonia Gandhi’s response to Manmohan’s offer of resignation.

The Quint does a fact-check of six of the most interesting lines from the trailer and tries to locate them in the book.

Also Read : The Accidental Prime Minister: Who is Akshaye’s Sanjaya Baru?

1. Manmohan Singh as "Bheeshma" and a Victim of "Family Drama"

TRAILER

(Photo: Erum Gour)

BOOK

(Photo: Arnica Kala)

2. 'Mahabharata' and the Congress Party

TRAILER

(Photo: Erum Gour)

BOOK

(Photo: Arnica Kala)

While the book does allude to The Mahabharata and compares Manmohan Singh as a “tragic hero” to Bheeshma, Baru does not comment on the Gandhi family vis-a-vis the families in the epic.

3. 'I Work For the PM, Not the Party'

TRAILER

(Photo: Erum Gour)

BOOK

(Photo: Arnica Kala)

In a moment from the trailer, Akshaye Khanna as Baru is speaking with who appears to be Sonia Gandhi’s trusted aide, Ahmed Patel. However, the exchange appears nowhere in the book.

However, Baru does say something similar in the book – but to Singh and not Patel. “Sir, I joined you in 2004 because you wanted me to. I worked for you, not for the government,” he says to the former Prime Minister on page 269.

4. Making Peace with Pakistan

TRAILER

(Photo: Erum Gour)

BOOK

(Photo: Arnica Kala)

This line in the trailer by Sonia Gandhi appears a stretch because it is based on Baru’s perception of Manmohan’s efforts in building peace with Pervez Musharraf and Pakistan. While Baru does say something similar to what Sonia Gandhi is saying to Singh, it is his opinion on the issue and not an account of something he saw occurring.

5. Rahul Succeeding Manmohan

TRAILER

(Photo: Erum Gour)

BOOK

(Photo: Arnica Kala)

6. Sonia's Angry Retort to Manmohan's Resignation Offer

TRAILER

(Photo: Erum Gour)

BOOK

(Photo: Arnica Kala)

While it is true that Manmohan Singh offered to resign, Sonia Gandhi’s response to that offer appears nowhere in the book. Once again, Baru has written that he was not present at the meeting and heard about it from other reliable sources.

The disclaimer at the beginning of the trailer.
The disclaimer at the beginning of the trailer.
(Photo Courtesy: PEN Movies/ The Accidental Prime Minister)

In conclusion, only one out of the six dialogues we fact-checked turned out to be true to the book. While a couple of them took minor liberties and were partially true, there are moments in the trailer that appear nowhere in Baru’s memoir.

To be fair, the opening disclaimer does mention that “characters, events and incidents” in the book have been “fictionalised for dramatisation.” However, it also claims that “utmost care has been taken to keep the screenplay accurately aligned to the book.”

If the trailer proves to be a template of the film’s alignment with the book, then 11 January should have a number of surprises once the film releases. We’ll provide a comparison of the film with the book and check how close it is to Baru’s memoir.

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