Anupam Kher’s The Accidental Prime Minister is based on Sanjay Baru’s book - The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh and had courted controversy four years ago when it was launched. A book penned by ex-Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s adviser created a storm way back in 2014. Many felt that the film had a political undertone and after BJP’s official handle tweeted the trailer there was more uproar. But this is not the only movie in Bollywood that has played favourites in the recent past.
In fact, another film that is releasing alongside Anupam Kher’s movie is Vicky Kaushal's Uri. We all know how the Uri attacks changed the climate of our country. In fact, Bollywood faced the repercussions of this political situation between India and Pakistan. A ban on Pakistani artists was called for and Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil faced the ire. Karan Johar did not just have to apologise and issue a video requesting for the release of his film, but Fawad Khan’s part in the movie was edited and the latter even had to let go from many Bollywood projects. Coming back to Uri, Vicky Kaushal’s this film hails war and not just has undertones of Indian victory, but also of the political decision makers.
While these two films are all set to release, in the last few years we've had several movies that have been in support of policies and schemes introduced by the ruling party. Anushka Sharma and Varun Dhawan's Sui Dhaaga was all about Make In India, a swadeshi movement launched by the government in 2015. Akshay Kumar – Bhumi Pednekar’s Toilet - Ek Prem Katha was also about the nation-wide cleanliness mission introduced in 2014 after Modi came to power. Akshay even got a retweet from PM.
If you've watched Ajay Devgn’s Raid then one cannot deny the striking resemblance that the character had with Congress leader Indira Gandhi. This film was based on a real-life incident and even though it does not exactly portray the ex-Prime Minister in a negative light, there is a borderline grey area to character, who tries to stop an honest officer from conducting a raid on a corrupt MLA. Ae also had John Abraham’s Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran, which talks about why India failed to be a nuclear superpower under a certain ruling political party, while succeeded under the rule of the opposition. This film was not just about the secret mission of nuclear bomb tests in Pokhran but played favourites as far as political parties were concerned.
There was another movie that created quite an uproar in Tripura titled Lal Sarkar. The film was well-timed and released in February just a few weeks ahead of the assembly polls in the state. The movie’s plot revolved around the reality behind development in the state under the Leftist rule. Interestingly, singer-turned-politician, BJP MP Babul Supriyo even crooned a song in this film. While the Left Front slammed the movie and termed it propaganda, BJP denied any association with the film.
Unlike in the west, where movies have been made on politicians and politics, Bollywood films have often failed to walk the thin line of objectivity. One can safely say that there’s a lot in common amongst these various movies that had a strong political plot. Does this mean Bollywood is a new-age propaganda vehicle like social media?