Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Thursday, 8 January 2009

Bollywood's farewell Bush handshake

By Prachi Pinglay
BBC News, Mumbai

Film poster
The film's release was delayed because of the Mumbai attacks

Bollywood is bidding farewell to the outgoing US president with its own take on his infamous Bushisms.

The President is Coming is released on Friday, less than two weeks before George W Bush hands over to Barack Obama.

The film, an adaptation of a play by the same name by Anubhav Pal, is about the visit of Mr Bush to India in 2006 when, among other diplomatic and political forums, there was a meeting scheduled with the bright young things of the New India.

That is where fact ends and the imagination of the writer takes over.

The film depicts a contest to identify one such bright Indian, less than 30 years of age, who will get to shake hands with the president. Six take up the challenge and will do anything to grab the chance.

Ramesh Sippy, the producer of the film, says: "It is a fictitious tale. It is a comedy. It is about the president wanting to meet young Indians and how people in India get all excited.

"The real story is between the characters who want to be the one [to shake hands] and their relationships, their jealousies. It is all in good fun."

The film is a mix of satire about Bushisms and the different types of Indian eccentricity.


Though political satire is not new to Indian theatre, it is only now that films like these are being made.

George W Bush

Director Kunaal Roy Kapoor, who also directed the play, says: "People in India are now warming to light satire in films and we hope this works. We have shot it in a 'mockumentary style' which adds another dimension to the film."

The six characters who compete in the all-day competition in a room in the US consulate are a stockbroker called Kapil Dev, a software guru, a novelist-activist, a billionaire's daughter, an accent trainer and a social worker who cannot speak much English.

Several actors have been retained from the original play, which is still running.

The film also uses some of the real footage of Mr Bush's visit to India.

Mr Sippy says the film is not a dig at Mr Bush but does contain some of "his foibles".

Mr Kapoor says there are some "politically incorrect" scenes, but they are light hearted and the focus is "to entertain".

Actress Shernaz Patel says: "I think we are going to miss [George W Bush] because he provided so much fodder."

Release of the film was delayed because of the Mumbai (Bombay) attacks. It had been scheduled to release on the third day of the attacks, 28 November.

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