Anchor Jeb Sharp speaks with BBC correspondent Zubair Ahmed in India about a "mock documentary" called "The President is Coming." The film pokes fun at President Bush but also makes fun of India's fascination with America.
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JEB SHARP: Some filmmakers in India are enjoying life at the expense of President Bush. They've made a mock documentary that pokes fun at our outgoing Commander-In-Chief. The film is called â€œThe President is Coming.â€ The plot unfolds around the time of President Bush's visit to India in 2006. There are lots of references to President Bush's linguistic mis-underestimations, and it's full of lines like this one: â€œA narrow-minded chauvinist who hates people from different cultural backgrounds.â€ â€œBut that is just like Bush.â€
â€œThe President Is Comingâ€ premiered today in India. The BBC's Zubair Ahmed is in Mumbai. He says the film also makes fun of modern India with a fictional plot that follows six young Indians as they compete for a chance to shake hands with Mr. Bush.
ZUBAIR AHMED: They're all probably are very ambitious. They want to see the world. You know, they like America. And they're all trying to outdo each other to be the winner, to shake hands with President Bush. But of course this is around Mr. Bush as well, and his slipups during his eight-year tenure as the President of the United States. And the film has a lot of footage from his TV speeches. In fact, in some places, they have also very cleverly used a man wearing a Bush mask and a suit walking around the streets of Mumbai.
SHARP: So tell us a little bit more about what President Bush's image is in India and how the film plays with that?
AHMED: Well, the image of President Bush is that of a man who is sincere but he's prone to making mistakes while he's giving serious speeches. Even then he can make mistakes. And probably the image of Mr. Bush is not any different here than anywhere else, but I think he's seen as someone who has led the US at least with the best of his abilities and sincerely.
SHARP: When you, yourself, watched the film, what made you giggle the most?
AHMED: When he's trying to meet this winner who is shaking hands with the President. I think the depiction of it â€“ it's sort of larger-than-life. It's very Bollywood style, exaggerated a bit, and he slips. You know, he literally slips, and that's when people laugh quite a lot.
SHARP: There's almost a slapstick aspect?
AHMED: Slapstick comedy. Yes.
SHARP: And is this a tradition in Bollywood? Does this come in a particular genre of Bollywood comedy?
AHMED: Well, I think it does. We've had a series of comedies which have been very successful here recently. And Mr. Bush is the kind of personality the Indian Bollywood producers and directors think fits the bill. He fits the kind of comedy that Bollywood depicts. For example. I was talking to the producer, and he says, â€œIf there was no Mr. Bush, there was no â€˜The President is Coming' film. And if there were no Bushisms, probably you would have made this film in a different way. But Mr. Bush would have been a central figure in the film.
SHARP: I think there's a little trepidation even on our shores about what will people make fun of after Mr. Bush leaves office. I wonder if you hear a similar complaint over there.
AHMED: Yes, of course. Like one of the actors in the film said, she was going to miss President Bush, and it just generally believe that Mr. Bush was indeed quite prone to making mistakes and people here sort of liked him and liked the fact that he was, apart from being a President, he was also a human being who was prone to making mistakes and he had a lot of slip-ups which were fodder for our cartoonists, for mimics. And people are indeed going to miss him, because Barack Obama is not going to provide the same kind of material to the cartoonists and people who make comedy films because he appears to be, in India and elsewhere perhaps, a man who knows quite a lot and who's serious. You know, we've seen what a good speaker he is and he doesn't make much mistakes.
SHARP: Well, thank you very much. The BBC's Zubair Ahmed in Mumbai.