Umesh Shukla on Narendra Modi web show: Unafraid to show reality

A month after mid-day had revealed that apart from three cinematic adaptations of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's life, a digital outing on the subject was also in the works, director Umesh Shukla spills details of putting together his 10-episode series. Titled Modi, it captures the politician across different phases of his life.

Shukla, who previously helmed the Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor starrer, 102 Not Out, says he had also initially planned a movie on Modi's life. "But, we had so much material that only a web series could do justice to it. We wanted to showcase a detailed account of his journey, so far," says the director, whose series is adapted from Kishor Makwana's book, Modi: Common Man's PM.

Ashish Sharma and Mahesh Thakur in stills from the show

Having previously revealed that it were a chance occurrence that the Mahesh Thakur-fronted Eros Now original was releasing during the elections, Shukla says he's unperturbed about the show seeming like a means to promote the PM.

"Whenever I read about Modi, I feel inspired. We are showing reality, so there is nothing to fear." Yet, he is quick to assert that his offering will not be a vehicle that takes further the PM's causes.

"We have also showcased the 2002 Godhra incident that brought him criticism. The subsequent questioning of Modi by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) has also been highlighted. Further, the 1979 dam disaster in Morbi, when the walls of the four-kilometer long Machhu Dam-II had disintegrated after 10 days of incessant monsoon rains and led to loss of lives and devastation of industrial towns, will also be showcased."

In a bid to create an offering that could best reflect the PM's life, Shukla visited Gujarat and met his siblings, friends, neighbours and school teachers, who shared their memories of Modi. "Friends and family members shared many anecdotes that have been included in the series."

Umesh Shukla

On a recce to locate a venue that could serve as a political party's meeting place in the show, Shukla shares that it was a Muslim family that came forward with aid. "They were staying in Siddhpur [40 kilometres away from Modi's hometown, Vadnagar] and offered their home to shoot certain scenes. For three days while we shot, they shifted to a nearby hotel, where the cast and crew were staying, because they wanted to be associated with a project related to the PM."

While Thakur plays the politician from his journey to becoming the PM of India, after his appointment as Gujarat CM, Ashish Sharma plays the PM as a young adult. Sharma, we hear, shot for his portions in the smaller towns of Gujarat and the Himalayas, where Modi is said to have spent time in meditation. Faizal Khan also features as Modi during his teenage. The show is set for a release in April 2019.

Also Read: An original series on the life of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced

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