Vivek Oberoi with UAE businessman BR Shetty and 'PM Narendra Modi' producer Sandip Ssingh.
Vivek Oberoi with UAE businessman BR Shetty and 'PM Narendra Modi' producer Sandip Ssingh. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/ Gulf News

Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi, who played Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his new biopic, isn’t fazed by the scathing criticism that his film has generated. He claims that the audience have embraced the gleaming biopic.

“Even in a place like Cochin [Kochi, Kerala] where Modi or BJP haven’t won a single seat, the film has been running house full. They have been seeing the film with an open mind and are able to understand our Prime Minister’s journey better,” said Oberoi in an interview with Gulf News tabloid! on Tuesday afternoon.

The actor was in Abu Dhabi for a special screening of Modi, followed by a press junket to talk it up further.

“The screening yesterday was electric. During the interval, I could hear them chanting ‘Modi, Modi’. Everybody left the theatre yesterday feeling patriotic. In places like Brisbane, London and New York we are getting ovations,” said Oberoi, adding that congratulatory tweets on his timeline were not orchestrated.

While the hero seems to be unflappable, the reviews have been mostly unkind. He claims the negative reviews are biased and that reviewers were merely expressing their dislike for the political leader than the film itself. According to reports, PM Narendra Modi, directed by Omung Kumar, collected Rs24.1 million (Dh1.27 million) in India on its fourth day of release.

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He’s taking the displaced hate and such vitriolic “ideological reviews” to his chin, claims the actor.

“As far as the critics are concerned, Modiji has some harsh critics who have always stood against him and I knew that some would pan the film to express their anger about Modiji winning with a massive mandate … You will have those haters,” said Oberoi.

A selected few just want to show Modi — who won by a huge margin in the recent Lok Sabha elections — in bad light.

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Vivek Oberoi in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Asked if the film was merely a fanboy tribute glossing over Modi’s flaws in his political career like the communal riots that broke out during his watch as a Chief Minister of Gujarat, Oberoi said that his film isn’t a documentary chronicling facts and that the film was a balanced account.

“For me the story was simply inspirational. Imagine a kid with no fancy surname or technical degree or a kid who never played the OBC [Other Backward Caste] card — he dedicated his life to the nation and that’s inspirational. Through my film, I want people to feel patriotic.”