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My Name Is RaGa teaser: After Modi and Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi becomes subject of a film

Controversial filmmaker Paul Rupesh has cut a poor, melodramatic teaser that is not likely to please the Congress president.

Mayur Lookhar

First, there was The Accidental Prime Minister (2018), a film based on the tenure of former prime minister Manmohan Singh.

Then actor Paresh Rawal announced that he would be playing prime minister Narendra Modi on the big screen, only to be beaten to it by Vivek Oberoi, who will play Modi in a film titled PM Narendra Modi.

Now comes a film on Rahul Gandhi, Indian National Congress president and Narendra Modi's arch rival in the general election due to take place in the summer.

Little-known filmmaker Paul Rupesh has released a four-minute 'first-look teaser' of the upcoming film, which is titled My Name Is RaGa. 

At four minutes, the video is too long to be called a teaser, let alone a 'first-look teaser'. Speaking to the website PeepingMoon.com, director Rupesh refused to call his film a biopic. He said it is the story of the comeback of a man who had been ridiculed by his opponents and written off by critics.

My Name Is RaGa chronicles the journey of an insecure child who goes on to become president of India's biggest opposition party.

The teaser begins with a young Rahul playing with his grandmother, prime minister Indira Gandhi, at her 1 Safdarjung Road residence. The boy witnesses his grandmother being shot dead by her bodyguards.

Shaken by the tragedy, Rahul and younger sister Priyanka worry whether their father, Rajiv Gandhi, would meet a similar fate. As it happened, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by terrorists of the separatist Sri Lankan group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, in 1991.

Having lost their grandmother and their father, Rahul and Priyanka fear for their mother Sonia Gandhi. Some have speculated that this fear was the primary reason why Sonia Gandhi turned down the position of prime minister after leading the United Progressive Alliance to victory in the 2004 general election.

Given the traumatic past, it is natural for Rahul Gandhi to be shown as a vulnerable child early in the teaser. While anyone is free to make a film on any subject, the poor four-minute teaser does not offer much hope for the film. What's more, it is unlikely to please either the Congress or its president despite supposedly being a film about their comeback.

While the person playing Rahul Gandhi does look the part, the teaser is extremely poor and soaked in melodrama. The only person recognizable from the cast is Anupam Kher’s brother Raju Kher, who is set to emulate his older brother by playing Manmohan Singh in the film.

Strangely, Rupesh shies away from giving out the names of his cast in the teaser credits.

Rahul Gandhi has had a tumultuous political journey so far. The teaser shows him orchestrating a famous electoral victory, without specifying which. Two characters appear to be based on prime minister Narendra Modi and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah. Both cut sorry figures in the teaser. The character based on Modi looks like a caricature villain from the clichéd revenge dramas of the 1970s and 1980s.

Rahul Gandhi has often been portrayed by opponents as a novice lacking political acumen. The Congress president has also been trolled relentlessly on social media. While Gandhi usually plays down such criticism, the teaser has him proudly stating, “My grandmother, father sacrificed their lives for the nation. If I even fail for this nation, then it will still be a matter of pride for me.”

Paul Rupesh has also added a touch of romance to the plot, without elaborating on the identity of the woman in Rahul Gandhi's life. But from the teaser it appears unlikely that the film will delve into Gandhi’s past relationships.

A Congress party member, on condition of anonymity, told Cinestaan.com, "We haven't seen the teaser and neither is the party interested. They can keep making these kind of nonsensical movies. We don't want to watch it or react to it."

Paul Rupesh, a Malayalam filmmaker, has to his credit bizarre titles like The Temptation Between My Legs (2008), Saint Dracula 3D (2012), What The F (2013) and Kamasutra 3D (2015). His next project is The Vanishing Act, a film based on the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airways flight MH-370.

The filmmaker has been in the news for the wrong reasons several times. In 2014, while marketing The Vanishing Act on the sidelines of the Cannes film festival, Rupesh got into a heated argument with the audience which was critical of his publicity material, as reported by the Chitramala.in website. 

Watch the teaser of My Name Is RaGa below. The film is likely to be released in April, just ahead of the general election. 

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