Bollywood is not only a form of entertainment in India but also serves as a medium to educate, especially people from the lower and lower-middle class. Many experts are also of the opinion that films can play a role in changing public perception among India’s big illiterate population, most of whom are consumers of television and movies.
No doubt that political parties in India are trying to leverage the medium to gain a competitive advantage for the forthcoming LokSabha elections.
PM Narendra Modi and My Name is RaGa (based on Rahul Gandhi) will release soon. The trailer of My Name is RaGa hows the fictionalized Gandhi invoking the memories of his father and grandmother, both former prime ministers and both assassinated, calling them martyrs who gave their lives for the country.
Such films, coming so soon before India’s general election, have drawn fire from opposition politicians, who say they are little more than propaganda.
India’s ruling party, the BJP, aggressively promoted Bollywood films “The Accidental Prime Minister” and “Uri” on its social media accounts. With elections near by, for quite some time the opposition had been raking up things like Demonetisation & GST. However, these two Bollywood films have shown BJP in a much better light.
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While, Uri shows that the party is capable of taking bold decisions, “The Accidental Prime Minister” shows how the congress party looks for directions and commands from the the Gandhi family, despite having a Prime Minster, who is not from the Gandhi family.
BJP shared the trailer of the movie, “The Accidental Prime Minister” on their Twitter account. However, Twitter users mocked the party for the tweet and criticised it as an attempt to malign the Opposition.
Riveting tale of how a family held the country to ransom for 10 long years. Was Dr Singh just a regent who was holding on to the PM’s chair till the time heir was ready? Watch the official trailer of #TheAccidentalPrimeMinister, based on an insider’s account, releasing on 11 Jan! pic.twitter.com/ToliKa8xaH
— BJP (@BJP4India) December 27, 2018
However, there were some who justified the tweet.
“Can’t we extend our wishes for a film? Congress has been all for freedom, why is it questioning that freedom now?”, asks MP Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
For those who say Movie Accidental PM demeans Manmohan Singh ji as a Sikh, should tell when did he ever take a stand for Sikhs. As a PM he stayed Maun when @INCIndia scuttled the process of justice for @SikhGenocide84, he was also Maun when MP tkts were given to Sajjan &Tytler
— RP Singh (@rpsinghkhalsa) January 13, 2019
The film is based on the book of the same name written by Sanjaya Baru. Baru was Manmohan Singh’s media adviser when the latter was the prime minister.
Right after the book was released, ex-PM Manmohan Singh had stated that the book was an attempt to misuse a privileged position to gain credibility for commercial gains.
Another film that can help BJP in the elections is the film ‘Uri’, based on the surgical strikes. With the surgical strike as the the main story, it shows the government behind a transformed India (‘Naya Hindustan’).
Former deputy PM LK Advani with daughter Pratibha at a cinema to watch Uri: The Surgical Strike.
See who is in the theatre to watch Uri movie 😊 pic.twitter.com/4W9rjQU7kE
— Arvind Gunasekar (@arvindgunasekar) January 13, 2019
While Bollywood celebrities have always campaigned for political parties and walked rallies showing support for certain political parties, this could be a new trend – make films that become a channel for propaganda for political parties.
Also, its quite likely that the the Election Commission of India might take notice of this aspect and not allow such movies to release right before elections.