Verdict: Addresses a filthy problem through innocent eyes.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has proven to be a filmmaker who can deliver social messages with entertaining Bollywood with films like Rang De Basanti and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. His latest film Mere Pyare Prime Minister also revolves around very relevant social issues. Told through the innocent eyes of a young slum boy, the film touches on topics like open defecation, sexual violence, and child labor.
What’s Mere Pyare Prime Minister About:
Kanhu (Om Kanojiya) and his single mother Sargam (Anjali Patil) live in the Gandhi Nagar slum in Mumbai. Accompanied by their supportive neighbors and friends, they seem to live a happy life in spite of all their difficulties. They have to fetch water from a public source every morning and are forced to defecate in the open due to the absence of a toilet. One night when Sargam is returning home from her trip to relieve herself, she is sexually assaulted by multiple men. Determined to provide safety to his mother, the very young Kanhu embarks on a mission to provide her with a toilet. He comes up with several plans with his other young friends and seems to reach a dead end every time. Finally, he decides to ask who he believes is the most powerful person in the country for help – the Prime Minister. Will Kanhu finally succeed in finding a safe and sanitary solution to this very basic human need? Mere Pyare Prime Minister answers that question.
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s deeply humanistic film gives us an honest look into life in the slums of Mumbai. Amidst their illegal shanties, Kanhu and his single mother live a rather content life with a great support system of neighbors and friends. He sets a perceptive picture of the Gandhi Nagar slum and the troubles that come with being underprivileged. In a settlement that houses dozens of families and homes, there is not a single toilet. With no space to defecate, the residents resort to relieving themselves in the open. The women in the neighborhood are forced to wake up in the early hours of dawn to defecate in the dark rather than in broad daylight. Even then, as the real-life statistics tell us, a large amount of sexual violence happens to these women. We come face to face with this grim reality in Mere Pyare Prime Minister when Kanhu’s mother is assaulted. After that, the little boy is down to do everything he can to provide a safe space for defecation in his slum, even if it means that he has to travel to the doorstep of the Prime Minister of India.
Telling this discerning tale, the cast delivers some great performances. The waist-high star of the film, Om Kanojiya might seem cute and adorable but he means business. National-award winning actress Anjali Patil leaves a memorable mark. Even the supporting cast of the film including Rasika Agashe, Nachiket Purnapatre, Makarand Deshpande, and Atul Kulkarni add another layer of emotion.
Along with the authentic portrait that the film paints, it is also sprinkled with a refreshing dose of humor. These light-hearted moments make Mere Pyare Prime Minister a fun take on a filthy problem that needs to be addressed.
What Could’ve Been Better:
Although the film successfully drives home the social issue of open defecation and lack of sanitation, it is not unlike something we’ve seen before. It also dissects a lot of other issues that tend to dilute the leading message of the film.
Why You Should Watch:
Mere Pyare Prime Minister manages to address the rather foul topic of open defecation with a humorous flavor and a charming premise. Watch it for the heartwrenching as well as heartwarming story told through the eyes of a charmingly innocent young boy.