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2019 Mandate: Political Movies vs Right Leader

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A series of political films backed by the political parties that the Indian audiences have come across post-2014 polls propagated respective ideologies in some or the other way. The ruling party is hell-bent on making films by their devoted directors. Be it Indu Sarkar, Budhha in a Traffic Jam, or recently released The Accidental Prime Minister — the BJP has left no stones unturned to show how critical situation and crisis India was in under the leadership of the Gandhi family. However, it seems interesting to note that, the irony lies in whether the political parties want the 2019 mandate to be based on movies or on choosing the right leaders? Filmmaker Anand Patwardhan has expressed that, “I have not watched any political ideology backed movies and neither had I wanted to watch the biopic on Narendra Modi or My Name is RaGa. These movies are bad. Their sole purpose is propaganda. The movie ‘URI’ is also the same; moreover, there’s no evidence that the 2016 surgical strike took place. Bollywood is being paid by the ruling party to make these types of movies and they are the ‘chamchas’ of the ruling party.”

He added, “Congress is out of power and has no money while BJP has and it is spreading the fake news and making movies as their propaganda. Common men are not fools and that’s why they are avoiding such movies. The ruling party cannot fool the public all the time. Jumlas of BJP are not going to work this time.”

The Indian audience rejected all these political movies at the box office. Now, after using all the weapons, the BJP again announced a film on Modi starring Vivek Oberoi. However, after all these three films promoted by the BJP, Congress too have come forward to use the same weapon in their favour and announced to make a film on Rahul Gandhi. Actor Mohan Joshi expressed, “There is no need for such Biopics. People don’t like such films as they are only made with the political purpose. The reason such films are being made is that the elections are coming up.”

The Narendra Modi-led BJP has sought to rekindle its narrative of Manmohan Singh as a weak and remote controlled Prime Minister by promoting the recently released ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’. After the BJP promoted the film on its Twitter handle, it also triggered a debate. BJP official Twitter handle updated, “Riveting tale of how a family held the nation to ransom for ten long years. Was Dr. Singh just a regent who was holding on to the PM’s chair till the time heir was ready?” However, Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh refused to comment on the film that set up a huge political row between the Congress and the BJP.

The film begins with Sonia Gandhi appointing Singh as the Prime Minister after the 2004 elections. However, the focus was the power dynamics between Gandhi and Singh, with the present Congress President Rahul Gandhi presented as the successor in waiting.  However, Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar, released in 2014, was based on the 21-months Emergency between 1975-1977 imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, has faced opposition from the Congress, which demanded the film to be screened to them before it was sent to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Actor Nagma and All India Woman Congress General Secretary stated, “People watch political movies out of curiosity. Such movies are made on fictional characters. Political movies like Indu Sarkar are full of wrong details of a political scenario. These movies are made with a purpose but don’t work at the box office and may not benefit any political party.”

Actor Vikram Gokhale asserted, “We are in a democratic country and making political films is not a crime. Everyone has the right to express ideas in the form of art or whatsoever. However, we should not be confused that these films will make an impact on the public. Our people are not that educated but they do what they feel during elections. They also hear speech during campaigns only for pure entertainment.”

The film, titled ‘My Name Is RaGa’ is now being made with a focus on the life of Rahul Gandhi and is expected to release in April in the midst of general elections. As per reports, the film is not a biopic but it aims to feature the coming back of a human being who had been ridiculously attacked. The announcement of this film comes amid the much controversy surrounding the Anupam Kher starrer “The Accidental Prime Minister”. Apart from using the entertainment media to bash the Opposition, the BJP also tried to use it well for their own promotion and the recently released “Uri: The Surgical Strike” or “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” highlighting Swachh Bharat mission are the fine examples.

Nisha Parulekar, Actor and Maharashtra BJP Chitrapath Kamgar Agadi Vice President said, “Biopics of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar have been made but this does not change the mindset of people. The movies are a medium to reach people while it never assures mandate. BJP funding political movies is a rumour. Social media is very powerful today and we get the report of the political parties’ work immediately. So, people won’t waste their time watching biopics.”

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