Film: An Insignificant Man
Cast: Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Kumar Vishwas, Santosh Koli, Shazia Ilmi
Directors: Khushboo Ranka, Vinay Shukla
Rating: * * *
A documentary intending to work majorly as a dramatic non-fiction thriller, this chronicling of the rise to Chief Ministership of the most insignificant, controversial and collectively dismissed political upstart Arvind Kejriwal, is quite a compelling watch.
His was the most outrageous political salvo made against two of the strongest political parties, the Congress and the BJP, in the history of Indian Politics. The film begins with his grassroots efforts to reach out to the poor, middle class and marginalised people living in the expanses of Delhi, following the decision of AAP (hitherto a culled together group of activists who valiantly fought to bring about the Lokpal bill) to become a part of the electoral politics of the country.
The camera then follows him trying to gain an understanding of the people’s needs and their aspirations from the government. While we marvel at the manner in which he connects to the people, making them toe his line against corruption while forgoing significant bribes handed to them for casting their vote, we also gain insight into the mettle of the man who persevered to overturn the perception that Delhi would either go with the Congress or the BJP. And it’s a valuable lesson to be learnt- about the kind of grit it takes for an insignificant man to steer his fledgling party to a victory that humbled two giant historic flushed-with money parties that never saw it coming.
The filmmakers started filming randomly while Arvind Kejriwal was still mulling the idea of joining politics. In fact, they dedicated 2 years of their lives to this effort at pigeon holing the controversial rise to power of a man who was once the darling of the media and in one swell hoop became someone they sought to chastise and question most stridently. The pacing is unhurried and that puts a damper on the thriller intent. From the narrow lanes in the shanty towns of Delhi, to the corridors of Power, his journey was certainly an unprecedented, unparalleled and interesting one. There are moments here that are historic and the insight we get is deep enough to understand what it really takes for a seeming upstart to become significant in the political hierarchy of Indian politics!