THE PRESIDENT IS COMING was to release in November last year. Wonder why the delay? Probably, the makers wanted to time the release with President George W Bush's official exit from the White House, which is slated for later this month. But the timing, I dare say, has nothing to do with the movie's fate at the box office. It's for a niche audience, and will, at the most, run for a week.
Of course, it has a wonderful concept, good cast and is well executed. But for all its finer moments which leave you laughing your guts out at some scenes, it's not something that you will highly recommend. It has its Fs and Bs moments, with the characters going at each other in the quest to win the slot to shake the President's hand, which sometimes shock, more than amuses. But therein lies the honesty of the flick. It's not apologetic.
The movie is a take-off on President Bush's visit to India in 2006. Interspersed is a situation where a PR firm has been hired to shortlist an Indian below 30 years of age to shake the President's hand. Six candidates are short listed and they are subjected to a 'reality' situation where they are put through various tests to determine their skills and aptitude. Yes, there is elimination, sans drama, and the winner will shake the President's hand. But why the fuss to shake the President's hand in the first place? That's exactly the puerile premise of this satirical movie.
The six short-listed are from different places in India with varying intellectual degrees and personalities. There's Konkona Sen Sharma, Ira Dubey, Vivek Gomber, Satchit Puranik, Namit Das and Anand Tiwari. Shernaz Patel and Shivani Tanksale, who head the PR firm, put them through the paces.
What one cannot understand is how one of the contestants, Anand Tiwari, gets a hold of a video of two others 'making out'. Also, how does Konkona know that another candidate for a Presidential Handshake is gay? Anyways, to put it bluntly, all six are desperate for a handshake, for their own motives. While Konkona has a sinister plan in place, Anand Tiwari, who's a stock market freak, wants to rope in Bush for a scam to raise the index. The motives of the other four are not clear. But in the end, it is the watchman who gets to do the honours.
Director Kunaal Roy Kapoor has shown finesse for situations and he plays with the six diverse characters with ease to set up hilarious situations. In the end, you walk away with the feeling of having watched a good sitcom.