If you’ve ever nursed an ambition to be photographed with the prime minister, today’s your chance. Gurmeet Singh, who is in Bangalore to promote his debut movie The Wedding Gift, looks so much like Manmohan Singh that even Sonia Gandhi ends up being muddled.
In fact, it was an episode with Sonia that made film director Suhaib Ilyasi cast Gurmeet as the prime minister in his film. “At a public function in New Delhi, I saw Sonia Gandhi get up to welcome prime minister Manmohan Singh. To everyone’s surprise, it turned out to be Gurmeet Singh. I immediately knew I had the actor for my film. He is not only Manmohan’s lookalike, but even his voice is similar,” Ilyasi said.
Gurmeet loves the confusion that he leaves in his wake and does nothing to set it right. On the contrary, he wears Manmohan’s trademark blue turban and white kurta-pyjama in public, leaving security personnel at their wits’ end. He even flummoxed staff at the hospital where Manmohan underwent a heart surgery by walking around.
Gurmeet is an All India Congress Committee (AICC) media co-ordinator and knows the PM. “I have met the prime minister on a few occasions. He calls me by my name. I have met his family members also,” says the 67-year-old,” he said.
He was into the family’s cold storage business in Delhi until 2004 when Manmohan became the prime minister. Leaving the business to his brother, Gurmeet joined the Congress.
“I was a close friend of Ajit Jogi. It was because of him that I joined. I have worked as a campaign organiser for Manmohan Singhji. I can go on about the many funny incidents that take place because of my resemblance to him,” says Singh.
The latest confusion happened two days ago when Gurmeet went to watch India play against Italy in the Olympics Hockey qualifiers. The television commentator announced that the prime minister was watching the match and it was only later that he realised his mistake and revealed that it was Gurmeet the lookalike.
PM’S PRESS MEET
GURMEET SINGH will be answering questions about the Indian Penal Code and other laws allegedly misused by women to harass their husbands. No, he’s no activist. But, his film ‘The Wedding Gift’ is about the misuse of Section 498(A) of the IPC.