Madam Chief Minister Trailer Talk: Richa Chadha Woos And Wars As Dalit Chief Minister, Film Companion

When the first look of Madam Chief Minister was out, there were strong reactions against it – conflating the “untouchable” caste with  the iconography of the broom and dirt, or even the use of the word “untouchable”, considered dated and loaded with the offensive history of upper caste people creating and propagating labels for the lower castes. Many also noted that while using the instantly recognizable haircut of Mayawati, the first female Dalit chief minister, it axed her education, preferring to use the above mentioned iconography to make the easier, more sensational association with dalits. 

Richa Chadha, who has been hailed by the progressives as a voice of reason noted that those dissenting must first take a look at the trailer, which was just released. While not given a name in the trailer (referred to as Chief Minister, ziddi, akkhad), her character has vague similarities with Mayawati’s rise. (Though the disclaimer notes otherwise). Saurabh Shukla plays a Kanshi Ram-like figure, Mayawati’s mentor. The trailer gives a whiff of the rot of politics- where building mandirs, and not metros, is the path to power. There is even a nod to the infamous “Guest House” incident. Manav Kaul plays her husband, lending this tale of politics a reprieve of love. 

Written and directed by Subhash Kapoor (Phas Gaye Re Obama (2010), Jolly LLB (2013) and Jolly LLB 2 (2017)), who himself was a political journalist before turning to film, produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Naren Kumar, Dimple Kharbanda, the film also stars Akshay Oberoi and Shubhrajyoti. The film releases in cinemas on January 22.

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