clock menu more-arrow no yes

This photo from Obama's India trip looks exactly like a Wes Anderson movie

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, left, with first lady Michelle Obama and President Obama. Not pictured: Bill Murray as Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, left, with first lady Michelle Obama and President Obama. Not pictured: Bill Murray as Prime Minister Narendra Modi
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

Official state visits are always weird — the pageantry, the costumes — but President Obama's visit to India has become so surreal that he now appears to be filming a new Wes Anderson movie there. Ostensibly, this photo shows Obama and his wife meeting with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, but it's pretty clear that that is just an elaborate cover for some sort of Royal Tenenbaums or Darjeeling Limited sequel.

Obama's state visit has so many of twee, ironic Wes Anderson hallmarks that one can only assume the White House has brought on the hipster director to stage manage the entire weeklong affair. Here are a few more of the signs:

  • The elaborate costumes, either a nostalgic holdover from British imperial rule, or the mis-en-scene of a hit play directed by star high school student Max Fischer (no relation)
  • The weird smirks of President Obama and his wife Michelle, possibly because they have just filled Bill Murray's hotel room with bees in revenge for Murray stealing their crush
  • Speaking of Bill Murray, he will be playing the role of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As with his portrayal of Steve Zissou, he will have his character's name stitched onto his costume:

  • A fancy state dinner, which presumably included elaborate stationery with offbeat typefaces, all designed by moody but precocious adolescents
  • Michelle Obama's beautiful but enormous dress and her towering-over-her-hosts high heels, which at this point is as much as of a no-more-fucks-to-give trademark as Margot Tenenbaum's cigarettes and fur coats
  • Anderson's continued practice of casting a short, iconoclastic Indian man in every film, although now that standby Kumar Pallana has passed away, Anderson has instead deployed Indian President Pranab Mukherjee
  • Obama fled the state dinner early to take a long train ride on the Indian rails to find himself

In a show of patience and good diplomacy, Obama's Indian hosts have so far not protested Wes Anderson's meddling.

Update: Designer Rick Harlow put this together, which makes it all about as official as it gets: