Tuesday May 21, 2019

Actor Anupam Kher Says That Cinema And Politics Cannot Be Separated

"The Accidental Prime Minister" is slated to release on January 11

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National Award winning actor Anupam Kher, who essays the character of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in “The Accidental Prime Minister”, says cinema and politics cannot be separated since one reflects the other.

The film, even before its release, has grabbed a lot of eyeballs and faced criticism for the projection of its central character and for being timed to hit the screens before the 2019 general elections.

Anupam told IANS: “Look, when the audience is going to the theatre to watch a film, they are regular cine-goers and movie lovers. They are not entering the hall as a voter.

“But yes, when they come out, the film might linger in their mind. But then, cinema and politics cannot be separated, because they are a reflection of each other.”

The actor further said: “A filmmaker or an artiste really cannot figure out why people are voting for a political party. Some voters are loyalists; some are making a list of good and bad to choose a party and the government. How much can a film could contribute to that?

“Having said that, I personally believe that when people go to vote for choosing a government, they do not decide anything based on the impact of a film.”

The movie is based on an eponymous book which was released during the 2014 elections when the political transformation happened and the nation voted the Bharatiya Janata Party government over the Congress-led UPA government.

Does the film intend to influence the voters to form an opinion on the Congress party by showing Singh in a critical light?

“It is ridiculous to say that people choose a political party and a change happened in the government because of Sanjay Baru’s book! Similarly, it would be silly to say that this film will change the result of the election this year,” replied the 63-year-old actor.

Anupam Kher
Cinema, politics can’t be separated: Anupam Kher, flickr

Directed by Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, the film also features Akshaye Khanna, Aahana Kumra and Arjun Mathur.

The book gives an insight of the Prime Minister Office (PMO) as well as the personal journey of Singh. And the film’s trailer gives a glimpse how the narrative will emphasise on the contradiction and difference of opinion between the PM and the Congress Party, especially its then president Sonia Gandhi.

In fact, such elements in the book also received some criticism in 2014.

Asked if highlighting on the conflict between the former PM and Congress party president is the core content of the film, Anupam said: “No, no, the story is a very humane tale of a man, who was born into a middle-class family and with his merit, he excelled and became a Prime Minister.

“He is a man with all heart, a true patriot, well read, humble man who went through a huge struggle and felt vulnerable as a Prime Minister of the country.”

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Commenting on the party president and PM conflict, the actor added: “It was never a secret. It was rather an open secret that has come out. It was there in the book as well!

“Everyone knew that he was chosen to become a Prime Minister by the Congress party and he was the least expected candidate. Our film is shown from the point of view of a media advisor in the PMO.

“It would be appreciated if audiences watch the film, as a story.”

“The Accidental Prime Minister” is slated to release on January 11. (IANS)

Next Story

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Tries To Resolve Dispute on Holding Barr in Contempt

U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says it is time for lawmakers to move on from the Russia investigation.

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Washington
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., gavels in a hearing on the Mueller report without witness Attorney General William Barr who refused to appear, on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 2, 2019. VOA

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee is proceeding Wednesday with its consideration of whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress over the Justice Department’s refusal to provide an unredacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation of Russian election interference.

Committee leaders and Justice Department officials met Tuesday to try to resolve the
dispute, but the two sides each issued statements late in the day indicating they remained far apart.

In short, the Justice Department threatened to request that President Donald Trump invoke executive privilege over the materials the committee asked for in its subpoena, if it goes ahead with the contempt vote Wednesday.

Nadler responded by saying the Justice Department’s legal arguments lack credibility or legal basis, and further accused it of conducting “dangerous” obstruction.

FILE - Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., right, speaks with Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., center, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, at the Capitol in Washington.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., right, speaks with Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., center, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, at the Capitol in Washington. VOA

​The Justice Department’s positions came in the form of a letter to Nadler from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd who accused Nadler’s committee of making “unreasonable demands” and provoking “an unnecessary conflict between our respective branches of government.”

Boyd said the Justice Department had acted within the law and regulations by offering a copy of the Mueller report “with as few redactions as possible,” but said committee leaders escalated the dispute by demanding all committee members be allowed to review that version, something he said would “risk violating court orders” in some ongoing cases.

Boyd asked Nadler to put the Mueller report subpoena on hold for now and to delay Wednesday’s contempt vote.

Nadler in his statement said the White House had long ago waived its executive privilege over the materials requested in the subpoena, which include not only the full Mueller report but also the underlying documents from the investigation of Russia’s interference with the 2016 election, whether members of Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia, and whether the president obstructed justice.

“The Department’s decision reflects President Trump’s blanket defiance of Congress’s constitutionally mandated duties,” Nadler said. “I expect that Congress will have no choice but to confront the behavior of this lawless administration. The Committee will also take a hard look at the officials who are enabling this cover up.”

If the Democrat-controlled Judiciary Committee approves the contempt citation for the attorney general, it would be taken up by the full House of Representatives. In theory, someone held in contempt could eventually be tried and, if convicted, face up to a year in prison. The Justice Department rarely pursues such referrals from Congress.

Nadler’s committee is also considering whether to hold Donald McGahn, the former White House counsel, in contempt of Congress if he refuses to testify before the committee later this month about the Mueller probe.

McGahn on Tuesday refused to comply with a subpoena for documents related to the investigation. The White House had demanded he ignore the subpoena, and his lawyer said the documents were property of the White House and as such McGahn had no right to them.

Nadler rejected that argument, saying the White House had also not invoked executive privilege over those materials.

House Democrats are pushing for Mueller to testify about his handling of the investigation.

Barr has said he had no objection to letting Mueller testify before Congress about his investigation. But Trump on Sunday changed his mind, saying, “Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!” No agreement has been reached for Mueller’s testimony.

Barr last month released a redacted copy of the Mueller report, with the prosecutor concluding neither Trump nor his campaign colluded with Russia, but reached no conclusion whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice during the 22-month investigation. Barr decided the findings did not warrant obstruction charges against the president.

Donald Trump
In short, the Justice Department threatened to request that President Donald Trump invoke executive privilege over the materials the committee asked for in its subpoena, if it goes ahead with the contempt vote Wednesday. VOA

In an online statement under the name DOJ Alumni, more than 700 former federal prosecutors, so far, who worked in Republican and Democratic administrations said evidence Mueller uncovered would have resulted in obstruction charges against Trump, were it not for the long-standing Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be charged with a criminal offense.

U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says it is time for lawmakers to move on from the Russia investigation.

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“Case closed,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. McConnell derided what he said was the “outrage industrial complex” of Democrats and television news show pundits over special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusion that Trump did not collude with Russians to help him win.

“The investigation went on for two years,” he said. “It’s finally over.”

Top Democratic leaders immediately disputed McConnell. Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer called McConnell’s remarks “an astounding bit of whitewashing,” while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “That’s just not a fact. The case is not closed.” (VOA)