A Bollywood film that casts opposition leader Rahul Gandhi and his family in an unflattering light ahead of a national election later this year has kicked up a controversy ahead of its release on Friday.
Commentators on social media and television news programs have taken swipes at the makers of 'The Accidental Prime Minister' for pursuing a political agenda, while a spokesman for the Gandhi's Congress Party has derided it as 'propaganda'. Based on a 2014 book of the same name, the Bollywood movie is billed as a chronicle of Manmohan Singh's ten-year premiership, as narrated by his former media advisor Sanjaya Baru.
Singh, a distinguished economist often credited for the country's liberalization push in the 1990's, became prime minister in 2004, after Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul's mother, led her party to a surprise election victory, but then stunned the country by nominating Singh for the premiership.
Trailers for the movie include scenes showing the Gandhis telling the mild-mannered Singh what to do, providing political ammunition for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party as it girds for a harder than expected battle to win a second term at an election that must be called by May.
The BJP's official Twitter handle tweeted a link to the trailer, calling the film 'a riveting tale of how a family held the country to ransom for 10 long years.' Rahul Gandhi's father, grandmother and great-grandfather were all prime ministers of India, and the BJP habitually targets the dynasty.
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