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When real imitates reel: aam aadmi as CM in film, an ‘aam aadmi’ as CM now

Led by Mann, the AAP romped home winning 92 seats in the 117-member Punjab Assembly, decimating the Congress and the SAD-BSP combine.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Ludhiana |
Updated: March 17, 2022 11:38:22 am
Mann will be sworn-in as CM at Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh in Nawanshahr (Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar) district. | Twitter/@AamAadmiParty

When Bhagwant Mann takes oath as the 18th chief minister of Punjab on Wednesday, life would’ve come a full circle for the Aam Aadmi Party leader who once played an ‘aam aadmi’ on screen who took on politicians flush with money and muscle power and went on to rule the state by decimating them.

Mann will be sworn-in as CM at Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh in Nawanshahr (Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar) district.

Led by Mann, the AAP romped home winning 92 seats in the 117-member Punjab Assembly, decimating the Congress and the SAD-BSP combine.

A stand-up comic-turned-politician Mann, who had been elected to the Lok Sabha only a year ago, in 2015 had written Punjabi film ‘22G Tussi Ghaint ho’ (Brother you are great). The film was a satire on the state’s political system and had tried to show a path of unique politics where an election is won without spending money like water.

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In the movie, he essayed the lead role of milk man Boota Singh who is forced by his younger brother, a retired professor of political science and an NRI friend to contest elections as an Independent candidate “to clean the prevailing political system”. In the movie, he wins the election by defeating a stalwart and goes on to become the chief minister of the state, albeit only for a month.

Cut to the real life, Mann won this year’s Asembly election convincingly from Dhuri. The battle at the hustings saw several stalwarts such as five-time former CM Parkash Singh Badal, his son and two-time former deputy CM Sukhbir Badal, CM Charanjit Singh Channi, two-time former CM Amarinder Singh, and another former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal bite the dust.

The speeches that Mann’s Boota Singh delivered in the movie, directed by Vishan Parashar and released in December 2015, echoed in his speeches in the run up to this year’s Assembly polls.
Boota Singh, coming from a common man’s family, campaigns at the railway crossing and even in local buses instead of bringing people to specially organised political rallies.

The movie depicted how seasoned politicians have made politics a dirty and costly game where they pump money like water and use liquor and ‘nasha (narcotics)’ to buy votes. In the movie, all such politicians lose the election.

Again cut to real life: The pre-poll campaign widely discussed and debated drugs and liquor being used to influence voters. There were allegations of money being used distributed by certain political leaders.

In the end, several political leaders are seen saying that they were no more in the habit of moving without gunmen and without vehicle that had read beacon on top. After losing the election, they ask how will they return to their normal lives. It also resonates with the real life as just two days after the election results were declared in Punjab, the state police withdrew the security cover of 122 political leaders. The move by Punjab Police had come a day after CM-designate Mann met the DGP.

The movie end with the political stalwart leader, who loses the election against Boota Singh, coming to the milkman’s place with a proposal that he join the former’s party, which is just short of majority. Boota accepts the proposal with a condition that he will be CM for a month.

The songs like ’22G Tussin Ghaint ho’ and ‘Lokan Da Raaj Leunna, Future Vi Chamkauna hai’ fit in the ideology of AAP. In the movie the name Kejriwal is mentioned several times.

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