Dr. Manmohan Singh did India proud by bagging the Oscar for Lifetime Achievement for acting as the Prime Minister of India from 2004 to present.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science said Dr. Singh’s Irving Thalberg Memorial Award was given to “a mild mannered and soft-spoken economist whose body language reflects a steadfast commitment to keeping up appearances of being in control and operating in silence, which in turn has spawned a plethora of behind the scenes state and non-state actors”.
It was of course more than a coincidence that on the night honoring one of the greatest practitioners of silent acting, ‘The Artist’, a silent movie, won 5 Academies including the best picture award. French star, Jean Dujardin, who won the Oscar for best actor in a leading role for portraying a fading film star of the silent movies era, acknowledged the mountain of debt he owed the Indian Prime Minister.
In stark contrast to the commonplace black ties and ubiquitous strapless gowns on display, Dr. Singh graced the red carpets attired in an elegant bandgala and spoke in a well rehearsed, flat tone without betraying any hint of emotion during his acceptance speech.
“This moment is for all the nameless and feckless economists of the world who now have a chance because this door tonight has been opened. Thank you. I’m honored. I’m so honored. I want to thank my director, Soniaji, for giving me the role of a lifetime. You trusted me, you believed in me, and you stood behind me always. I also want to thank Rahulji for his generosity in extending my role indefinitely. I love you. I would also like to take this opportunity to talk about why India’s GDP growth rests on strong fundamentals and the world must..” at which point, the presenter coughed and gently nudged Dr. Singh away from the microphone, even as a few members of the audience began to yawn.
Later, Dr. Singh regaled the audience with a few glimpses of his exceptional thespian skills. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Dr. Singh as the silent Prime Minister,” announced the presenter, upon which Dr. Singh gingerly walked to the front of the stage and stared back at the audience, poked faced. Two minutes of pin drop silence ensued as the audience looked on mesmerized. And then the Hollywood and Highland Center was flooded with deafening applause as guests gave the Indian PM a standing ovation for his bravura extempore performance.
After the awards ceremony, Dr. Singh also posed for the shutter bugs with Meryl Streep, who bagged the Oscar for her stunning portrayal of the iron willed former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. “We share many commonalities, Meryl. You got to act as the British PM and I continue to act as the Indian PM. We are indeed two of a kind,” Dr. Singh remarked while praising the handsome actress, who smiled back sweetly at him.