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How Films And Politics March Hand in Hand?

Filmmaking and all things about films is a business of instincts. Somehow, since the emergence of the BJP, more and more film people seem inclined towards the party and this time it is not only the stars.

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Film folk are no longer moving to politics as an alternative when their film career is over. Looks like they are no longer scared or shy of coming into the open. For or against the ruling set up. Pixabay

BY: VINOD MIRANI

The phenomenon of film actors joining forces with politicians is not a new thing. In the South, it happened much earlier while the Hindi film actors took the cue a bit late. One of the reasons the Hindi film industry kept away from politics for long was that the rulers and, as such, politicians were seen as enemies of film folk. Not one, there were many Swords of Damocles hung over the film industry by the rulers and usually used as tools.

If at all, film folk wanted to be part of politics, the only option was the ruling party. The ruling party was well armed with excise duty (on prints), import duty on film raw stock (India kept making the highest number of films but never did anything about setting up a manufacturing unit for raw film), there were last minute income tax raids a day before a producer’s film was due to release, blocking censor certification and so on.

So, when the film men’s move to politics started, it was all towards the Congress. Starting with Sunil Dutt and followed by the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna and so on, who joined the bandwagon. I think the filmmakers got bolder after 1977, in the post emergency period. Dev Anand along with some likeminded industry folk had also gone ahead and formed a political party (The National Party) to contest elections to be able to put forward the film people’s views. This era also coincided with a new generation of film men, the educated and the aware lot. Sunil Dutt was among the first ones to join electoral politics.

Narendra Modi
What is worse, even in the entertainment industry, nobody seems to care for the opinion of this lot as more and more popular film personalities are either joining the Modi bandwagon or are associating with him. Pixabay

Quite a few actors who joined politics were disillusioned quickly and gave up after a while. Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Govinda were those who called it quits. Those who were inducted through the Rajya Sabha, seemed least interested except for Jaya Bachchan. Raj Babbar is the one who has become the true blue politician, changing parties and surviving; from the Janata Dal to Samajwadi Party to Congress.

Things started changing a bit since the emergence of a stronger opposition to the ruling Congress as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as a party to contend with. Filmmaking and all things about films is a business of instincts. Somehow, since the emergence of the BJP, more and more film people seem inclined towards the party and this time it is not only the stars. It may sound a bit odd but, of late, most of the film people either joining the party or advocating their cause is the BJP! And, those joining the BJP are not joining because they are either scared of the ruling party or want favours done.

Of late, even the films that are being made and are working at the box office are those promoting social issues and nationalism. That is in keeping with the national mood (as said earlier, film folk have great instinct).

But, things have changed now. Film folk are no longer moving to politics as an alternative when their film career is over. Looks like they are no longer scared or shy of coming into the open. For or against the ruling set up. Yet, claims of all of them are not to be trusted. For example, Vivek Oberoi, who has played Modi in a biopic, claims to have been approached by any and every party to contest elections.

There is no reason to believe his claims. As against that, Sunny Deol has been roped in by BJP in place of his father, Dharmendra, to defend Gurdaspur constituency, represented by the late Vinod Khanna. From the look of it, the BJP seems to be getting more saleable stars (in the film industry, they are the ones who matter).

Coming back to film folk, this coming election got into news vis a vis the film industry because of some six hundred people like Naseeruddin Shah forming a group to promote anti Modi sentiments! The problem with this lot is that none of them has a popular appeal. Also, they have no explanation for why they want Modi to be defeated! They just wanted Modi out.

Curiously, there is also a lot that has a grouse against the present day dispensation that there is no freedom of expression! Whatever the problems, film people never risked talking against the government. The fear of victimisation was always there. But, things seem to have changed now. While the popular film stars are joining the ruling NDA, a section of film people has branded it as intolerant. What is surprising is that most of these people have no assignments nor have anything to do with the government, directly or indirectly! This lot organized a signature campaign against the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Fine, what now? What are these signature worth since most of the signatories carry no appeal at the box office nor do they enjoy a fan following.

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Of late, even the films that are being made and are working at the box office are those promoting social issues and nationalism. Pixabay

Many in the media and otherwise including these signatories have made it their business to badmouth the Prime Minister and continue to do so. Can’t call that intolerance by any yardstick! What is worse, even in the entertainment industry, nobody seems to care for the opinion of this lot as more and more popular film personalities are either joining the Modi bandwagon or are associating with him.

@The Box Office

*”Kalank” was released last week on Wednesday, to take the benefit of Mahavir Jayanti holiday. The film also got an additional holiday for Good Friday. Both these holidays gave the film an extended weekend of about Rs 61 crore. But, come Monday, the collections nosedived and the film could manage the nine day first week of just Rs 71.5 crore.

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*”Tashkent Files” has maintained steady collections in its second week though on a smaller scale. The film has collected approximately Rs 6 crore for two weeks.

*”Kessari” added Rs 1.5 crore in its fifth week to take its five week total to Rs 152.5 crore. (IANS)

Next Story

Bollywood Now All Set to Enter Next Level with Heroine-Oriented Film

Far from remaining a mere eye candy, the likes of Kangana Ranaut in "Dhaakad" and Parineeti Chopra in "The Girl On The Train" remake

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Bollywood, Heroine, Film
Bollywood is now all set to enter the next level with the heroine-oriented film. Pixabay

The Bollywood actress has come of age, and that has been happening for a while now. The heroine-oriented film is a reality, so is a consistently good show of the genre at the box-office. Bollywood is now all set to enter the next level with the heroine-oriented film. Far from remaining a mere eye candy, the likes of Kangana Ranaut in “Dhaakad” and Parineeti Chopra in “The Girl On The Train” remake are moving into areas where the Bollywood heroine never did.

Kangana has defined “Dhaakad” as a “one of a kind female-led action film”, while Parineeti calls her next release the “most difficult” role in her life. The trend is catching on, you realise, when you look at recent performances as Taapsee Pannu in “Badla” and Alia Bhatt in “Raazi”, too.

Kangana has been the “hero” of her films like “Queen” and “Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi”. In her latest release, “JudgeMentall Hai Kya”, she played antihero — something we normally don’t see the Bollywood heroine do. The film may not have set the box-office in fire, but it outlines an important trend. Now that the female-centric film is here to stay, the Bollywood heroine will not be the same again.

“I have always wanted to be somebody who is not the hero’s sidekick because when there is a big hero in the film you are just a sidekick,” Kangana had told IANS.

Bollywood, Heroine, Film
The Bollywood actress has come of age, and that has been happening for a while now. Pixabay

Among her upcoming films, “Dhaakad” will show that action genre isn’t restricted to just men.

“After the success of ‘Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi’, it has been proven that audiences across the globe are loving larger than life films with a female hero. ‘Dhaakad’ is not only a benchmark film for my career but will be a turning point for Indian cinema as well,” Kangana had said.

“The film is mounted on a large scale, is one of a kind female-led action film, and is apt for a Diwali release. If it is received well, there will be no looking back for women in Indian cinema.”

Actress Parineeti Chopra gave a sneak peek of her “intense” look from her upcoming film the Hindi remake of Hollywood thriller “The Girl On The Train”.

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Parineeti on Wednesday took to Twitter to share her first look, which she described as “most difficult”. In the new still, she appears heavily bruised, sitting in a bath tub with an expressions of shock on her face.

“Something I’ve never done before. And the most difficult character I have ever played in my life,” she captioned the image.

“Panga” — Kangana’s movie with filmmaker Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari — is expected to strengthen her filmography. It is being described by the makers as a story that reaffirms that a family who laughs, cries, dreams together and if they are by your side, nothing seems to be impossible to a willing heart. The film also stars strong female actors Richa Chadha and Neena Gupta.

While there’s still time for these movies to release, the audience will get to see actresses Bhumi Pednekar and Taapsee Pannu playing oldest sharp shooters in the world in the film “Saand Ki Aankh”.

Bollywood, Heroine, Film
The heroine-oriented film is a reality, so is a consistently good show of the genre at the box-office. Pixabay

The movie is inspired by Chandro Tomar and Prakashi Tomar, who are among the oldest sharp shooters in India.

Taapsee, who essays the role of Prakashi Tomar, said: “To play the role of a woman, who against all odds, picked up the gun and shot her way to glory and success at that age, has been so inspiring.

“While shooting for the film, I lived with them in their house. I saw how both of them encourage the game of sharp shooting. Despite coming from a rural place, these two women have shown me that Indian women are no less than anyone else in the world when it comes to sports, strong will and fighting for their dream,” she added.

A month ago, Parineeti, who is often associated with chirpy roles, gave a sneak peek of her “intense” look from the Hindi remake of Hollywood thriller “The Girl On The Train”.

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Parineeti took to Twitter to share her first look, which she described as “most difficult”. “Something I’ve never done before. And the most difficult character I have ever played in my life,” she had written.

“The Girl On The Train” is based on Paula Hawkins’ 2015 bestseller of the same name. It is a psychological thriller about a divorcee woman, who gets entangled in the investigation of a missing person, which in turn throws her life out of gear.

Actress Deepika Padukone’s infectious smile and her beauty have often been talk points. Her fans will soon see her in the film “Chhapaak”, based on the life of an acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. The “Om Shanti Om” star calls it the “most precious film of my career”.

On her role, Deepika had said earlier: “It’s a very important story and it’s a true life incident, so hopefully good things will come out of it.” (IANS)