Aahana Kumar on playing Priyanka Gandhi: Attempted to not caricaturise role
Set to play Priyanka Gandhi in The Accidental Prime Minister, Aahana Kumra says she’s picked the politician’s nuances to add authenticity to character
Sonil Dedhia (MID-DAY; July 3, 2018)

Having to portray a person on screen without as much as an interaction with her can be tough. But Aahana Kumra had director Vijay Gutte and producer Hansal Mehta to turn to when she struggled to ape politician Priyanka Gandhi for The Accidental Prime Minister. “They helped me understand how she must be, based on their knowledge of her, and that really helped,” says Kumra, who caught Mehta’s eye with her act in the web show, inside Edge.

Priyanka Gandhi“Although I had a small part in Inside Edge, it was sufficient to bag me an audition for this film. I was called to give a screen test for the role of Priyanka Gandhi. I knew I could play the part after they replicated her hairdo for me and slipped me into a saree. It was [a noteworthy] transformation, because I never thought I could look like her. Finally, I performed a scene, and they liked what i did.”

The actor, who came under the spotlight after her act in Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016), did not want her portrayal of Gandhi in the Anupam Kher starrer to seem uninteresting. “Though I haven’t had the opportunity to meet her [Gandhi], I have watched [innumerable] videos of her. The entire cast is playing roles of people who are alive, so we need to be careful. We have tried against caricaturising this character. I have tried to catch Priyanka’s nuances and replicate them in my performance.”

However, Kumra says she did not read Sanjay Baru’s book — by the same name — on which this film is based. She argues, her role had little to do with what is chronicled in the literary piece. “I will read it when I get the time,” she signs off.

The film marks Kumra’s second collaboration with Kher, who plays the role of former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh. It also features Arjun Mathur as Rahul Gandhi, and Akshaye Khanna.