After giving the audience a glimpse of PM Narendra Modi’s “common man” side in Modi: Journey of a Common Man, Eros Now is set to launch the second season of the series titled Modi Season 2: CM to PM. Starring Mahesh Thakur in the lead role, the show is helmed by Umesh Shukla.
The three-episode series will showcase Narendra Modi’s stint as the chief minister of Gujarat for three consecutive terms. It will also highlight the rise and challenges he faced in his quest to become the prime minister. The show will release in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Gujarati.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Mahesh Thakur opens up about playing Modi, criticism about the show and what he would do if he gets the chance to become the chief minister.
Excerpts from the conversation:
What can one expect from the season?
Well, it’s the continuation of the story, and will chronicle Narendra Modi’s journey of becoming the prime minister. While the earlier season saw the young Modi, now, you will see him as how most of us know him. The show is based on Kishor Makwana’s book Modi: Common Man’s PM, and we have explored whatever is written in the same.
These episodes are releasing after more than a year. Do you think people will be able to connect with it?
I think one should look at it as an independent project. It is not a very common journey of becoming the prime minister, and a leader of that magnitude. The episodes will chronicle how BJP came to power in the nation, and how Modi took charge as PM. It is a very different story from what we saw in the first season, where we delved into his common man journey. However, I must also add that it’s a creative take, and we are not making any political statement. Given that we know about the journey, it would be a good series to watch.
How challenging is it to play a living character and not to make it look caricaturish?
If I have to define the challenge, the biggest task was that I could not do what I wanted to. I was bound by a lot of imitation. Everything that I did, the audience had to see Narendra Modi in it and not Mahesh Thakur. I think that became a challenge, as we had to get the body language, the way he talks right. Also, we do not know much about how he is in his personal moments. We actually did a lot of retakes, shot and re-shot trying to figure out what would look best. I am also thankful that I had such a wonderful makeup and costume team. We had to keep it very close to the real person.
Given the season will project his journey of becoming the PM, how much of hero-worshipping will we see?
There are a few shots they have taken when the masses meet him while he was the chief minister. I don’t think there’s any hero-worshipping. There were accusations levelled against him, and his position was at stake. The season will go into those areas and showcase what exactly happened. Rather than me talking about it, I think one should see the show to judge.
The first season received a lot of backlash last year. As an actor, how do you deal with it?
I think I did my job wholeheartedly, and it is on the people to decide whether they give love or hatred. One should see the project independently. I am not telling you where to cast your votes. Take it as creative work without any political intention. Also, whatever controversy you see here is already in the public domain, and even in the book. As an actor, it was my job to put my heart and soul into the part. Also, it was a challenging role of this popular leader, and I hope people like my work.
How difficult is it to play a part, even when you don’t identify with their ideologies and beliefs?
I have done negative roles but doesn’t mean I believe in their actions. These are just characters, and as actors, it’s our job to adapt to them. I have put my best foot forward purely as an actor, and the audience too should see it that way. My success will be achieved only when maximum people watch my work.
What’s the best compliment that you received for the show, and from whom?
I think the first time I dressed up and entered the set. The entire unit was dumbfounded and shocked. I had picked up the body language, and as I walked in his style, many just smiled saying Modi ji is here. That was the best feedback I could have got.
If you get to become the CM or PM for a day, what would your agenda be?
While I have no political aspiration, as any normal citizen, I will ask people to wake up and take care of traffic and potholes on the road. Most citizens in metro cities of our country have the hardest time commuting. I think it’s high time that is taken care of.
Starting November 12, Modi Season 2: CM to PM will stream on Eros Now.
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