PM’s look-alike draws attention in Bangalore

February 23rd, 2012 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Bangalore, Feb 23 (IANS) Bearing a startling resemblance to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in looks, style and mannerisms, 65-year-old Gurmeet Singh Sethi became the centre of attention Thursday at a press conference here on upcoming Hindi movie “The Wedding Gift” in which he plays the prime minister’s role.

Sporting Manmohan Singh’s trademark blue turban, grey beard and spectacles, Sethi walked into the Bangalore Press Club located in a corner of the famous Cubbon Park in white kurta-pyjama and a dark-blue Nehru jacket.

Though Sethi was an hour behind schedule for the briefing on the film, produced and directed by noted TV personality Suhaib Ilyasi, the delay caused more curiosity, as the organisers announced that “the prime minister of India will address the media on the occasion.”

By design or co-incidence, Sethi did not disappoint the waiting crowd, as he maintained a discreet silence throughout the media interaction, reminding everyone of Manmohan Singh’s silent nature.

When coaxed to speak and respond to queries, Sethi, a long-time member of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), smiled much like Singh and mumbled a few words, which were hardly audible though he had a mike in hand.

“I am delighted to be in Bangalore for a cause espoused by the film in which I volunteered to play the prime minister’s role as its script deals with the misuse of the section 498A of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) against married men by their blackmailing wives and in-laws,” Sethi said when asked to repeat a little louder.

Set to be released in the last week of May, the tragic-comedy movie highlights the disastrous consequences of the draconian section 498A of the anti-dowry law, which forced thousands of much-maligned husbands to commit suicide since it was enacted in 1983.

Born in Sheikhupura in Pakistan, Sethi migrated to India during the partition and spent his younger days in Amritsar before shifting to Indore in Madhya Pradesh where he was a businessman providing cold storage for vegetables and fruits.

“Currently, I live in Delhi with my younger son, leading a retired life. I have known Singh even before he became the finance minister during the nineties (1991-96) and the prime minister later (since May 2004). I had campaigned for him in the 1999 mid-term Lok Sabha elections when he contested from the South Delhi constituency and lost,” a bemused Sethi recalled.

Asserting that Singh was an honest and a learned person, Sethi said that he was sad to know that the prime minister was unable to provide the kind of leadership that Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel did for the country during the fifties and sixties.

“The country lacks leadership. We don’t have another Nehru or Patel to lead the country through the crisis we are going through. Majority of the politicians are selfish and corrupt. They are busy minting money than serving the country,” Sethi lamented.

On his acting in the social film, Sethi said as he was approached to play the PM’s role because he resembled Singh and would enable fans to relate him to the latter.

“Though I never acted in films, I agreed to do the role as it was not difficult to act like Singh who has the same demeanour like me,” Sethi quipped.

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