Directors: Khushboo Ranka, Vinay Shukla
First thing first, Vinay Shukla and Khushboo Ranka’s ‘An Insignificant Man’, a political thriller, is not a hagiography of Arvind Kejriwal, or propagandist move for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), but it surprises you with its potent voice free from any prejudices and bigotry.
‘An Insignificant Man’ is the second documentary to focus on the 2013 Delhi assembly election after Lalit Vachani’s An Ordinary Election (2015), although the scope and ambition of the two are different, the ethos of the situation is quite similar.
With about 450 hours of footage compiled by Vinay Shukla and Khushboo Ranka captured over an eventful period of two years, the premise is pretty vast. Editors Abhinav Tyagi and Manan Bhatt have cut down it to 96-minute that ranges from rise of anti-corruption protests in India and the formation and rise to power of the Aam Aadmi Party with the master planner Yogendra Yadav (who was expelled from AAP in 2015 after differences with the leadership) to day-to-day functioning of the Aam Aadmi Party between December 2012 and December 2013, concluding with the Delhi elections. The film also give insights of Kejriwal’s conviction and his vulnerabilities, which makes ‘An Insignificant Man’ more personal.
Every rise-and-fall story has its share of villains. Sheila Dikshit, who we see taking multiple jibes at blister that was Kejriwal for her and often underplaying the surprise of startling events, primarily plays that “role” in ‘An Insignificant Man’.
In one of the genuinely heartfelt moments in the film, Kejriwal leaves his house on election voting day when his mother asks him what time he will return. Kejriwal laughs and says - it will be a long night. Also, watch for one light-hearted scene between Kejriwal and his party members where they burst into uncontrolled laughter during campaign video making. ‘An Insignificant Man’ not only follows Kejriwal, but also gives us a peek into what goes on behind the closed doors of the Aam Aadmi Party office.
The film is slick due to fineness in the technical departments. Special credit goes to skilful camerawork by Shukla, Ranka and Vinay Rohira and also Ola Fløttum’s heart pounding background score that keeps tension and excitement intact throughout the drama.
‘An Insignificant Man’ is a refreshing change from a regular clutter of Bollywood. It doesn’t matter which side of spectrum you stand at or how well versed you are with political environment of India, this film is fascinating and an engaging watch for everyone. It is especially a must see for people who seem to have been carried away by supremely biased journalism and hate the man without knowing where he and his politics come from.