Thursday March 21, 2019

Actor Anupam Kher Says That Cinema And Politics Cannot Be Separated

"The Accidental Prime Minister" is slated to release on January 11

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National Award winning actor Anupam Kher, who essays the character of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in “The Accidental Prime Minister”, says cinema and politics cannot be separated since one reflects the other.

The film, even before its release, has grabbed a lot of eyeballs and faced criticism for the projection of its central character and for being timed to hit the screens before the 2019 general elections.

Anupam told IANS: “Look, when the audience is going to the theatre to watch a film, they are regular cine-goers and movie lovers. They are not entering the hall as a voter.

“But yes, when they come out, the film might linger in their mind. But then, cinema and politics cannot be separated, because they are a reflection of each other.”

The actor further said: “A filmmaker or an artiste really cannot figure out why people are voting for a political party. Some voters are loyalists; some are making a list of good and bad to choose a party and the government. How much can a film could contribute to that?

“Having said that, I personally believe that when people go to vote for choosing a government, they do not decide anything based on the impact of a film.”

The movie is based on an eponymous book which was released during the 2014 elections when the political transformation happened and the nation voted the Bharatiya Janata Party government over the Congress-led UPA government.

Does the film intend to influence the voters to form an opinion on the Congress party by showing Singh in a critical light?

“It is ridiculous to say that people choose a political party and a change happened in the government because of Sanjay Baru’s book! Similarly, it would be silly to say that this film will change the result of the election this year,” replied the 63-year-old actor.

Anupam Kher
Cinema, politics can’t be separated: Anupam Kher, flickr

Directed by Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, the film also features Akshaye Khanna, Aahana Kumra and Arjun Mathur.

The book gives an insight of the Prime Minister Office (PMO) as well as the personal journey of Singh. And the film’s trailer gives a glimpse how the narrative will emphasise on the contradiction and difference of opinion between the PM and the Congress Party, especially its then president Sonia Gandhi.

In fact, such elements in the book also received some criticism in 2014.

Asked if highlighting on the conflict between the former PM and Congress party president is the core content of the film, Anupam said: “No, no, the story is a very humane tale of a man, who was born into a middle-class family and with his merit, he excelled and became a Prime Minister.

“He is a man with all heart, a true patriot, well read, humble man who went through a huge struggle and felt vulnerable as a Prime Minister of the country.”

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Commenting on the party president and PM conflict, the actor added: “It was never a secret. It was rather an open secret that has come out. It was there in the book as well!

“Everyone knew that he was chosen to become a Prime Minister by the Congress party and he was the least expected candidate. Our film is shown from the point of view of a media advisor in the PMO.

“It would be appreciated if audiences watch the film, as a story.”

“The Accidental Prime Minister” is slated to release on January 11. (IANS)

Next Story

Despite All The Efforts, Political Campaign Spends on Social Media Remain A Mystery

But even as the Election Commission has made social media companies follow certain norms, such as pre-certification of political ads to prevent misuse of the platforms, such measures are unlikely to bring adequate transparency to the whole process

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The Election Commission is in talks with the representatives of Internet companies, including social media platforms, on the use of social media for campaigning in the Lok Sabha polls while the Model Code of Conduct is in force. Pixabay

Despite all the efforts put in place by social media companies to show who is paying for the political advertisements on their platforms, the users may not know the actual amount spent to run political campaigns on these websites.

Facebook has a searchable database for political ads which anyone can access. This Ad Library report from the social media giant shows that Indians have spent over Rs 6.5 crore in over 30,000 ads related to politics since February 2019 — in the run up to the general elections.

Similarly, Twitter also has an Ad Transparency Centre which allows one to search which account has spent how much in the past seven days.

social media
“In terms of political ads, social media companies should allow only certified agencies to post ads. This would make the monitoring process much easier for everyone. Allowing any individual to post political ads complicates the monitoring process. This is a big loophole,” he said. Pixabay

While these efforts are being regarded as important steps towards bringing transparency in the political process, they may not reflect the complete picture of how the social media space operates, according to experts.

“Influencers play a very important role in political campaigns and 90 per cent of the transactions related to these campaigns are done through cash,” social media expert Anoop Mishra told IANS.

Knowing which party is spending how much on social media is important because much of what trends on Twitter or what becomes popular on Facebook – with potential to impact voter behaviour – may actually be due to the money and manpower of political parties while creating an illusion of organic support from hundreds and thousands of users in these platforms.

“Every political party including the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), Congress, Samajwadi Party and BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) are trying to push their agenda on social media. But those parties with greater money, manpower and tech expertise are likely to win the social media war,” Mishra said.

He added that political parties were employing a large number of people to make their propaganda material viral on social media.

twitter
Similarly, Twitter also has an Ad Transparency Centre which allows one to search which account has spent how much in the past seven days.
Pixabay

“In terms of political ads, social media companies should allow only certified agencies to post ads. This would make the monitoring process much easier for everyone. Allowing any individual to post political ads complicates the monitoring process. This is a big loophole,” he said.

“Encrypted platforms like WhatsApp could be used extensively to spread advertisements and propaganda, which could be difficult to be tracked,” added Prasanth Sugathan, Legal Director, Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC.in), a Delhi-based not-for-profit legal services body.

Also Read: Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity
The Election Commission is in talks with the representatives of Internet companies, including social media platforms, on the use of social media for campaigning in the Lok Sabha polls while the Model Code of Conduct is in force.

But even as the Election Commission has made social media companies follow certain norms, such as pre-certification of political ads to prevent misuse of the platforms, such measures are unlikely to bring adequate transparency to the whole process. (IANS)