It has been widely observed that since the start of the election season, the cinema has become politically oriented. It can be seen in biopics of various political leaders and also in Bollywood movies like Uri: The Surgical Strike and Paltan.
Many people have opined that this could be a strategy to influence the electoral process. On the face of it, it seems as if the movies are made purely for the ‘artistic’ feel of them. However, it also stands true that sometimes, the movie makers make these movies shrewdly targeted at particular audiences. At certain times the release of a movie is planned so that it may affect a particular event or be on a certain date. Salman Khan is known to release a movie on Eid while Akshay Kumar is known to prefer patriotic days.
The general elections are a major event as far as democracies are concerned. So it is inescapable for movies to gravitate towards these themes. It cannot be a pure coincidence because it takes at least 8-10 months to make a movie. It was known that the elections would take place in the second quarter of the year. So for any movies released January onwards, the aim can be presumed to be to influence the people’s minds.
A timeline of Politically inspired Bollywood movies
Bollywood movies released in January 2019
Uri: The Surgical Strike
This Bollywood movie focused on the Surgical Strike conducted by the Indian Army across the border to retaliate against the deadly attack on the Uri Military Base. The movie crossed Box-office records and won hearts across the border. The movie was high on “Josh” and had people relating to the soldiers and their families. It also
The Accidental Prime Minister
The movie was applauded for not just the acting skills of the actors, specially Anupam Kher. But also the honesty and bravery of using the names of real-life politicians. The movie was commended by many for being funny despite broaching on the heavy topic of a previous Prime Minister.
Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi
Manikarnika came with strong acting and took to highlighting one of the first female leaders in the Indian freedom struggle. Many people believe that it has been a part of the Modi government’s initiative to bring non-congress related leaders and parties’ role in the freedom struggle. It has been said that the focus on Gandhi and Congress’s role in the freedom struggle has been a part of Congress’s propaganda to promote itself. Manikarnika can be seen as an attempt at breaking that.
The movie was the first in a
Bollywood movies released in February 2019
Akshay Kumar’s Kesari, based on the battle of Saragarhi has been a huge success at the Box-office. However this is one amongst many Bollywood movies based on the epic battle fought by the Sikh soldiers.
Upcoming politically motivated movies of 2019
Mere Pyare Prime Minister
Releasing this March the movie is a social-drama. The movie follows the 8 year old boy who writes a letter to the Prime Minister following the rape of his mother. The child travels from Mumbai to Delhi to convince the PM to improve the conditions of the slums.
PM Narendra Modi
The biopic of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to be out in April first week. The movie comes with the tag line ‘Patriotism is my Strength’. It would be interesting to see how media-friendly Prime Minister is appreciated by common people portrayed by someone else. It promises to take the audience through the PM’s life from poverty to becoming the strongest man in the country.
The Tashkent Files
Another Bollywood movie releasing in the second week of April, focuses on the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri, former Prime Minister. He allegedly died of a heart attack in the midst of negotiation with Pakistan in Taskent, Russia on the 1965 war. There has been suspicion around his death and foul play has been suspected.
The Great Indian Democratic Discussion
We all know, if people in India get together, the most popular topic of discussion (imagine an old man popping up now!) is politics. And why shouldn’t it be. Because this is a topic which controls our daily routine, fraternity and unity and also our collective future. So it is only natural that it arouses our curiosity and interest. The election year started with the movie Uri- The surgical Strike, which is directly linked to the terrorism affected areas. With the huge success and collection of Rs. 359cr, it is the most successful movie of the year. Similarly the The Accidental Prime Minister and Thackeray were also screened on the similar concepts. It can be assumed that these types of movies are not only to target the the audience and to increase vote bank.
It is proven time and again that movies based on political leaders, war background and patriotism are always successful. We have movies like Haqiqat, Rang De Basanti, Border and Bajrangi Bhaijan which have been extremely successful. So can this contribute positively to an event as important as the General Elections? If these can influence peoples opinion or motivate them to vote for the betterment of the country, then why not?