Movie Review: The President Is Coming

The world shall eternally be thankful to the former American President George W. Bush. Not for his botched up policies, ideas and ideologies, but for opting to don the role of the First Joker rather than the First Citizen of the United States. Never mind, we have laughed enough so much on the crazy antics he has performed during his tenure as the President, he was certainly one of those few world leaders who chose to be goofy even in America's bleakest hours. Remember 9/11 and how he held the children's story book "My Pet Goat" upside down, while the airplanes pounded history?

George Bush may no longer be the President of the United States but there was no other way to bid him farewell than celebrate his Bushisms with a dash of Indianism. The President Is Coming directed by Kunaal Roy Kapur is a shameless, amateurish and funny satirical comedy that not only lampoons Bush, but also takes a rib-tickling dekko at the stereotype of the Indian youth.

Set against the former US President's visit to India in 2006, the film is a behind-the-scenes of the US Consulate which has been given an arduous task of selecting one suitable Indian who will shake hands with the former US President. Needless to say, this fortunate (read: unfortunate) Indian will be the sole representative of India's burgeoning youth population and has the responsibility of showcasing the mantra of "India Shining-Rising-Rocking", all in a matter of a second.

Enter Samantha Patel (Shernaz Patel), the quirky PR agent who must select the chosen one with her assistant, the second-sexed Ritu Johnson (Shivani Tanksale). Enter the participants: an odd assortment of twenty-something Indians who have to pass a test of their physical and mental skills before they have their tryst with history. It's here the real fun in the movie begins, as the wannabe Booker winner Maya Roy (Konkona Sen Sharma) tries to outwit the rest with her snooty pseudo-intellectual airs. Of course, she's no competition for the casteist-communal swadeshi MBA pass out, the Yankee-fied accent trainer, the bimbette desi Paris Hilton (Ira Dubey), the gay geek who wants a good wife and the earthy stock broker who believes money can buy everything, even a handshake!

The film has a raw look and lacks finesse when it comes to production values. But there is a delightful tongue-in-cheek tenor running through it, which makes you overlook the unpolished feel and the loose editing. While George Bush himself is reduced to a bunch of raucous snores and a disembodied flick of the hand, India's famous Generation X are themselves a bunch of nerds who think Colin Powell is Nelson Mandela and Osama Bin Laden is Osho Rajneesh.

But in the end, despite their foibles, they're all lovable and recognizable, including the "communal" wannabe entrepreneur who ends up befriending the Muslim security guard and applauding his Urdu poetry. Performance-wise, it's the uptight and complex-ridden Konkona Sen Sharma who walks away with laurels and laughs even as the film takes a healthy snigger at the desi self.


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