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Controlling all forms of promotions!

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on January 12, 2019 with No Comments

With less than three months to the general elections in India, the Narendra Modi government has moved a constitutional amendment to enable 10 per cent reservation in government jobs and education for economically weaker upper castes. The decision is in line with the view of its ideological mentor RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that reservation should be along economic lines and not just based on caste. In a desperate move, the ruling party BJP has sounded the bugle for the general elections and the need for such reforms has been brought in when the BJP lost three states recently to the Congress. Their seriousness for the cause is under question as it has been only brought in at the fag end of the term with hardly any time to implement it in right earnest.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to keep the fight on especially when the party has been preparing for these elections for long. And since timing is quiet important in politics, it is interesting this time, the BJP has taken a help from Bollywood too but in a different and innovative manner.
The movie “The Accidental Prime Minister”, a film on former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is coming out now. Even when Sanjaya Baru wrote the book in 2014, he was allegedly persuaded by his publisher to advance the publishing – Baru had earlier decided to bring out the book after the 2014 elections – and bring it out before the polls. Nobody is going to read it afterwards, the publisher had allegedly told Baru. And the publisher was right as the book was sold out within three days of release. The book was trying to establish that there were two power centers in UPA 1 and UPA 2, where the major decision making rested with Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi. When the trailer of the movie came, out the twitter handle of the BJP made a direct reference to the movie hoping that the movie will evoke some response with the cinegoers and they may decide to vote in favour of the BJP. Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is known to have shunned the limelight and since relinquishing the office, he has been more or less out of active politics. However, his assessment of the economic health of India during the regime of Narendra Modi has been always accurate, hence the movie would draw crowds, and to make storyline more appealing there is enough about Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi who is one of the leading opponents to Narendra Modi and Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi. The film’s trailer starts with Akshaye Khanna, who plays Sanjaya Baru, saying that the Mahabharata is about two families, the Pandavas and the Kauravas, but in India today there is only one—the Gandhis, and good curtain raiser specially knowing that the lead actors, Anupam Kher and Akshaye Khanna have their linkages to BJP. While Kher’s wife Kiroon Kher is a Member of Parliament from Chandigarh on BJP’s ticket and Akshaye Khanna’s father Vinod Khanna was a three time MP.
The Accidental Prime Minister is not the first movie that is directed to work in the favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In last four years, Some of the others are Indu Sarkar, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Padman have been some in those category. Others to follow in days to come are Uri: The Surgical Strike and The Tashkent Files, which are yet to be released, fall in the same category, at least going by the promotions. Politicians have always been well aware of the power of cinema. But this kind of iron-fist control over the film industry is unprecedented. Rather Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s control over all possible means of promotion is unprecedented. His monthly radio program, control of TV channels, even the sign boards at Gas Stations and now movies.
Is it a crime for filmmakers to want to be on the right side of the ruling dispensation? Perhaps not, films in early 1960s and 1970s hav lauded congress leaders. But to act as a mouthpiece of certain political dispensation is not accidental.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, doesn’t want the voters to judge him on the impact of demonetization, Good and Service Tax, Farmers in distress, more emphasis of cows than on human, but through a film that is showing the Nehru Gandhi family in a form, that may not be true. Prime Minister Modi is already facing question on making use of the Bollywood for this political gains and more may follow soon. Assume, the movie to show former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh as he often has been caricatured as a silent prime minister. However, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is about to close his first term, there are questions Why Prime Minister Modi is keeping quiet. Why the PM hasn’t held a single press conference during his tenure and subjected himself to being questioned by the press, or why his half-hearted remarks about lynchings, atrocities on girl child have made any impact?
And now that another biopic is being planned on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, do we need any more proof that Narendra Modi is too much in his own promotion and wants to have a firm control on any medium that we can make use of.


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