Sunday June 16, 2019
Home Lead Story How Films And...

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.

0
//
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.

movies
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.

Also Read: Sudan Military, Opposition Agree To Lead Transition From Autocratic Rule: Claims Sources

*”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

Europe’s Voters Elect EU Parliament as Nationalism Mounts

Pivotal elections for the European Union parliament reach their climax Sunday as the last 21 nations go to the polls and results are announced

0
Europe's Voters, EU Parliament
A man casts his vote in the European Parliament Elections, during the Belgian general and regional elections and European Parliament Elections, in Limal, Belgium, May 26, 2019. VOA

Pivotal elections for the European Union parliament reach their climax Sunday as the last 21 nations go to the polls and results are announced in a vote that boils down to a continentwide battle between euroskeptic populists and proponents of closer EU unity.

Right-wing nationalists who want to slash immigration into Europe and return power to national governments are expected to make gains, though mainstream parties are expected to hold onto power in the 751-seat legislature that sits in both Brussels and Strasbourg.

Salvini vs Macron

Leading the challenge to the established order is Italy’s hard-line interior minister, Matteo Salvini, head of the League party, who is assembling a group of like-minded parties from across Europe.

“We need to do everything that is right to free this country, this continent, from the illegal occupation organized by Brussels,” Salvini told a rally in Milan last weekend that was attended by the leaders of 11 nationalist parties.

Europe's Voters, EU Parliament
Geert Wilders, leader of Dutch party PVV (Party for Freedom), Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, Marine Le Pen, leader of French National Rally party attend a major rally of European nationalist and far-right parties in Milan, May 18, 2019. VOA

Proponents of stronger EU integration, led by French President Emmanuel Macron, argue that issues like climate change and reining in immigration are simply too big for any one country to tackle alone.

Macron, whose country has been rocked in recent months by the populist yellow vest movement, has called the elections “the most important since 1979 because the (European) Union is facing an existential risk” from nationalists seeking to divide the bloc.

Sunday promises to be a long day and night for election watchers — the last polls close at 11 p.m. (2100 GMT) in Italy, but the European Parliament plans to begin issuing estimates and projections hours earlier with the first official projection of the makeup of the new parliament at 11:15 p.m. (2115 GMT).

Right-wing populists top opinion polls in two of the big four member states — Italy and supposedly exiting Britain — and could also win in a third, France, rattling a pro-Union campaign championed by centrist Macron.

Exit polls

However, exit polls in some countries that have already voted have given pro-EU parties some comfort. The Dutch Labour party, all but written off, looks to have finished first, helped by the visibility of having the EU socialists’ lead candidate, current EU deputy chief executive Frans Timmermans.

Also Read- Easing Fears in Wake of Data Breach Should be Priority, Says Researcher

In the Netherlands pro-Union parties scored 70%, up three points on the last European Parliament vote in 2014, and left the upstart anti-immigration party of Thierry Baudet fourth at 11%.

The Dutch also turned out in bigger numbers, albeit at just 41%, reinforcing hopes in Brussels of reversing a 40-year trend of declining turnout that critics cite as a “democratic deficit” that undermines the legitimacy of European Union lawmaking.

Europe's Voters, EU Parliament
A man walks by an installation encouraging people to vote in the European elections at Luxembourg metro station in Brussels, May 24, 2019. About 400 million Europeans from 28 countries will head to the polls May 23-26 to choose lawmakers to represent them. VOA

An exit poll after Friday’s vote in deeply pro-EU Ireland pointed to an expected “Green Wave.” Across the bloc, concerns about climate change and the environment may bolster the pro-EU Greens group and could mean tighter regulations for industry and for the terms the EU may set for partners seeking trade accords.

As the dust settles on four days of elections, European leaders will begin the task of selecting candidates for the top jobs in the EU’s headquarters in Brussels. The leaders meet for a summit over dinner Tuesday night.

Also Read- Tesla Updating its Supercharging Stations to Limit the SoC to 80%

Current European lawmakers’ terms end July 1 and the new parliament will take their seats in Strasbourg the following day. (VOA)