Mere Pyare Prime Minister
Director - Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Cast - Anjali Patil, Om Kanojia, Atul Kulkarni, Makrand Deshpande
Rating - 3/5
In Hindi, sexually transmitted diseases are coyly called ‘gupt rog.’ They are treated as an illicit secret, and this unfortunate stigma allows director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra to stage a most charming scene of courtship in Mere Pyare Prime Minister. In his new film, a young man takes a young woman, a victim of rape, to a clinic to get tested for STDs and, noticing her shame, announces he needs the tests himself. It is only after himself braving the nurse’s condescension that he offhandedly asks if she should get tested as well, since she’s there. This is chivalry at its most effective.
Watch the Mere Pyare Prime Minister trailer here
Don’t be fooled by the primarily waist-high cast. This film opens with women from a Mumbai basti making bawdy jokes about their bedrooms, cuts to a man getting children to sell hashish, and then gives us a glimpse of that item song about a woman who repeatedly needs to be reminded her name. Sex, drugs and Katrina Kaif. Right from the start, Mehra makes it clear this isn’t for kids.
Instead, the film takes literal potshots at the government for not building enough public toilets. It’s about a spunky child, Kannu (a believably naive Om Kanojiya), who routinely defecates outdoors and makes a game of it with his friends. No poverty porn, merely dirty pleasures. When everything is filthy, nothing feels filthy.
Kannu’s mother, played by the impressively authentic Anjali Patil, is brutally assaulted during her ablutions — something the film admirably refuses to victimise. Her son’s reaction is to try and build a bathroom for his mother, a quest that takes him to 7 Race Course Road, letter in hand.
Mere Pyare Prime Minister is an earnest fairy-tale, modest but far from memorable. The kids are fine and some scenes charm, but the grown-ups get the best bits. My highlight is the couple living next door to Kannu, played by Nachiket Purnapatre and Rasika Agashe. Wife and husband trade slaps across the face — as greeting, and as come-on — are visibly enamoured by each other, and require but the mildest suggestion to head back to bed, throwing away freshly bought movie tickets. This is Mehra the storyteller getting his groove back by going basic, telling us a movie is just a movie. It’s okay to choose life instead.
Follow @htshowbiz for more
First Published: Mar 15, 2019 08:21 IST