Baba Nagarjun’s iconic poem is redefined in The Accidental Prime Minister

A film based on the tenure of a former prime minister is not expected to have songs. If you do hear one, it is perhaps done more for reasons of marketing than any actual requirement in the script.

And yet, director Vijay Ratnakar Gutte and music composer Sadhu Tiwari give us a pleasant surprise with ‘Om Shabd’.

Om or Aum, a chant used by Hindus and Buddhists, is the most sacred syllable, symbol or mantra that signifies the essence of the ultimate reality, consciousness or soul.

The late poet Vaidyanath Mishra, better known by his pen name Baba Nagarjun, had written a poem, titled Om Shabd, that was filled with his interpretations of the word. Though Om is supposed to have a spiritual connection, in a materialistic world it has lost its essence.

Gutte and Sadhu Tiwari have used the spiritual defintion from Nagarjun’s poem but have added a verse that comes across as a satirical take on the state of politics in the country.

The Accidental Prime Minister is based on Manmohan Singh’s tenure as prime minister. The renowned economist was often perceived as a weak prime minister, working at the behest of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. At least that is how Anupam Kher, who plays Manmohan Singh, portrays him in the film. This is aptly reflected in the second long verse of the song.

The film has, naturally, been mired in controversy from the time it was announced. Director Gutte, already reeling from a host of alleged financial fraud charges, could rile the Congress party with the controversial couplet “Om sher ke daant, bhaaloo ke naakhoon, markat ka phota, hamesha hamesha karega raaj mera pota. While Manmohan Singh might be the tiger, is Sonia Gandhi being mocked as the bear and Rahul Gandhi as the markat, or monkey?

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The controversial line will certainly make the Congress party and its members cry even louder that this is nothing but a BJP propaganda film. The more pertinent observation, however, is how the film’s makers have had the courage to label sounds emanating from religious places as noise.

‘Om Shabd’ has a thematic significance to The Accidental Prime Minister and that is what makes Nagarjun’s poem so relevant for the film, and relevant to the times that we live in.

Sadhu Tiwari doubles up as the singer and gets the essence of Nagarjun’s poem and emotes the film’s theme finely in the track.

Politicians and powerful people rule the roost, but the plight of the poor seldom changes. ‘Om Shabd’ is a reminder of how greed has blinded dodgy politicians, how religion has been reduced to noise. The song calls for introspection by the country as a whole.

Watch the ‘Om Shabd’ song from The Accidental Prime Minister below. 

The Accidental Prime Minister is set to be released on 11 January. Let us know if you are keen to watch this film.

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