An Insignificant Man: Kejriwal film that stars ousted member Yogendra Yadav

Long-awaited documentary on AAP evokes laughter and tears, dishes out the dirt and is a must-see for political watchers.

WrittenBy:Amit Bhardwaj
Date:
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(*Spoilers ahead)

In November 2015, Yogendra Yadav was insulted, manhandled and eventually chucked out of the Aam Aadmi Party. Even now inside closed doors, many AAP volunteers or Arvind Kejriwal loyalists continue to abhor Yadav. He still remains a person who was involved in “anti-party activities”.

Two years later, Vinay Shukla and Khusboo Ranka’s award-winning documentary An Insignificant Man is finally out for public screening in India and has pulled the mask off party leaders.

The 1-hour 36-minute documentary dives deep into the formation of a political party in the critical days of the world’s largest democracy. What it also successfully covers is the behaviour of AAP’s core leadership, their unguarded conversations, emotional moments such as the death of Santosh Kohli and ugly fights during ticket distribution.

Importantly, intrinsic details of the Kejriwal-Yadav bond have been tracked closely.

Kejriwal was the hero of the “aam aadmi”. In 2013, his speeches were winning hearts as well as public support. However, the man behind crafting aggressive agenda – such as making “free water” a key poll promise – was working from behind the stage. This man was Yadav.

Throughout the movie, psephologist-turned politician Yadav shares as much screen space as Kejriwal. He remains the voice of reason and also the most vocal critic within the party.

As the documentary progresses, one realises that Yadav’s scathing attacks on Kejriwal’s personality cult weren’t fair either. In fact, the conversations captured on camera show that it was Yadav’s idea to project Kejriwal as the only face of the AAP during the 2013 poll.

More such details tumble out of the closet. And Yadav too stands vulnerable. His dialogue with volunteers and party members, including those in the closed coterie of AAP leaders, is played on the screen – making it clear that Yadav too committed blunders.

The filmmakers should be applauded for being present yet not visible in places where leaders such as Yadav not only accept that the party is deviating from its principles but also try such acts.

The cameras follow these leaders and volunteers everywhere – in the slums, in their offices, inside meeting rooms, when the party brass is crying and when they are laughing.

The best moments of the movie were caught on camera while recording former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, her reactions and conversation at the time of filing nomination papers for the poll.

On the screen, powerful and mighty Dikshit’s words and actions are juxtaposed with that of rookie Kejriwal. And that is what makes the difference.

The time which producers took in post-production and also seeking funds actually helped their cause. Even the scenes captured by news channel’s cameras look completely different in the documentary. The background score creates magic.

Even though it is a documentary on the process and pain of forming a political party and creating history in Indian polity, don’t mistake it to be a boring one. It has a heavy dose of laughter and jokes.

There is no comparison to the scene where Ranka and Shukla capture the campaign video for the party. Kumar Vishwas, Manish Sisodia, and Kejriwal take friendly digs at each other and laugh like teenagers.

If you are watching it on the big screen and were associated with India Against Corruption (IAC) or AAP – you might feel uncomfortable as the film reaches intermission. There are chances you might end up breaking into tears.

Santosh Kohli was Kejriwal’s comrade since the days of Parivartan (an unregistered NGO). She was the lifeline of volunteers in the IAC movement and the fearless lady who led the street play paltan of AAP in several districts of India.

Kohli, also an AAP candidate, met with an accident right before the 2013 Assembly poll and succumbed to injuries. Then, and even now, the moment remains a heart-wrenching one for the IAC as well as AAP supporters.

Full marks to the makers for brilliant editing, background score, for not deleting scenes – which might have upset several people – and staying honest to the subject.

The movie is a must watch for those interested in Indian politics, for IAC-AAP sympathisers to relive historic moments and also journalists who have been tracking Team Kejriwal since the IAC days.

It is even more important for sycophants within the party to watch and realise what mess they have created out of AAP in the past five years.

An Insignificant Man is a classic show which exposes how sycophants failed the hopes of thousands and chucked out voices which tried to save the democratic structure in a “common men’s party”.

(The writer was associated with the Indian Against Corruption movement until the formation of AAP.)

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