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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

Here’s a Glimpse of a “Defining Decade” for Bollywood

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Bollywood
Looking back at the decade that was, therefore, has to be about mixing vintage larger-than-life zest with the newfound zeal for realism in Bollywood. Pixabay

It has been a defining decade for Bollywood, when content came of age, when larger-than-life made space for realism, when the Khans continued to dominate and when the heroine-oriented film finally came on its own.

This was a decade that witnessed major changes in terms of filmmaking as well as film-watching trends. Bollywood, which has had a history of worshipping superstars, has seen a re-haul of the term �star’ over the past few years, what with script idea and taking precedence over everything else including the faces on the posters.

True, the record-busters are still being driven by male superstars. But even among these films, only the ones with interesting are the ones that have emerged winners. So, while Aamir Khan reaped it rich with “Dangal”, “PK” or “Secret Superstar”, his effort came a cropper when he tried the nonsensical “Thugs Of Hindostan”. Akshay Kumar was at his best in films with solid content as “Special 26”, “Baby”, “Rustom”, Pad Man”, and “Mission Mangal”, while biggies as “Boss”, “Entertainment” or “Singh Is Bliing”. His “Housefull” series has also come under flak with its latest release.

It was a decade when Salman Khan unleashed Bollywood’s undoubtedly most entertaining comic action hero by way of Chulbul Pandey in the “Dabangg” series, to catapult his stardom to unprecedented heights, before struggling to reinvent that super avatar at the fag end of the decade. It was also the decade when Shah Rukh Khan has lookedlike he is at a loss on how to reinvent his superstardom, after reigning the Bollywood box-office over nearly a decade and half.

The rise of content-driven cinema has also created space for the stardom of ‘realistic heroies and heroines’. These include Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal, Rajkummar Rao. Irrfan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who were around before, found the right projects to come of age. Taapsee Pannu, Richa Chadha, Radhika Apte and Bhumi Pednekar are among actresses who have found a platform in this decade that would perhaps have not been possible earlier.

The late Sridevi, Rani Mukerji, Tabu, and Vidya Balan found great roles “Mom”, the Mardaani” flciks, “Andhadhun” and “Tumhari Sulu” respectively, to prove the industry looks at senior actresses with a new regard now.

The impact has affected new-age mainstream stars, too. The likes of Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt, Kangana Ranaut, Ranveer Singh, Ranbir Kapoor and Varun Dhawan have been jusiciously mixing their out-and-out commercial ventures with the odd, performance-oriented offbeat project that lets them garner histrionic appreciation and, who knows, the right award or two.

The actor who has left the biggest impact lately has to be Ayushmann Khurrana, who has delivered seven consecutive hist over the past few years, without actually wavering from his focus on solid content and character. The feather in his cap was the National Award he won for “Andhadhun”, which he shared with Vicky Kaushal (“Uri: The Surgical Strike”) this year.

Looking back at the decade that was, therefore, has to be about mixing vintage larger-than-life zest with the Bollywood’s newfound zeal for realism. Here is our top ten list of the decade, of films that we feel best define the 10 years that past us by…

DABANGG (2010)

We are talking of the first film of the series here. Supercop Chulbul Pandey redefined the comic action hero, and also made Salman Khan Bollywood’s biggest superstar. Although, over three films, the originality of entertainment has gone southward, the original film continues to be as popular as ever. Starring Salman Khan with Sonakshi Sinha in her debut role, the Abhinav Kashyap directorial created a storm, collecting Rs 145 crore in India.

KAHAANI (2012)

With the Vidya Balan-starrer, filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh showed what he is capable of when it came to serving up a truly original and realistic Bollywood thriller. Popular Bengali actor Saswata Chatterjee left a mark as Bob Biswas, and a largely Bengali cast including talented names as Parambrata Chatterjee, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Indraneil Sengupta and Kharaj Mukherjee added authenticity to the Kolkata-based storyline alongside Nawazuddin Siddiqui and , “Kahaani” is one of the best mystery thrillers in the history of cinema worldwide. The film collected Rs 59 crores in India.

Bollywood
It was a decade when Salman Khan unleashed undoubtedly most entertaining comic action hero of Bollywood by way of Chulbul Pandey in the “Dabangg” series, to catapult his stardom to unprecedented heights, before struggling to reinvent that super avatar at the fag end of the decade. Wikimedia Commons

THE LUNCHBOX (2013)

Ritesh Batra’s 2013 movie won Viewer’s Choice Award at the Cannes film Fest’s Critic’s Week section, besides many other global accolades. Starrting Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Nimrat Kaur, the film is extremely relatable as a middle-class story, especially for those residing in Mumbai. The phenomenal success of “The Lunchbox” without the presence of any A-lister Bollywood star came as a surprise to many. The small-budget film earned around 22 crores at the Indian box office.

QUEEN (2014)

The Vikas Bahl directorial came as a slap on the face of patriarchal society. It showed the world that gone are the days of the weeping hapless woman who is ditched by her groom-to-be. Kangana Ranaut shows the trandsofrmation of such a denure, conservative young woman to one who learns to live life on her own terms. Kangana and Lisa Haydon won accolades for their performance while Rajkummar Rao impressed even in a small role. The film collected 61 crore at the domestic box office and was a superhit.

DUM LAGA KE HAISHA (2015)

The romantic-comedy film with a strong social message broke all stereotypes with its subject and with debutante actress Bhumi Pednekar putting on weight for the role of an overweight bride. The Sharat Katariya directorial turned Ayushmann Khurrana into a star and established Bhumi Pednekar as a talented actress in Bollywood. The film collected 30 crores in India.

PINK (2016)

The Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury directorial received widespread critical acclaim for touching upon the very relevant subject of sexual harassment of women in the present-day Indian society. The film established Taapsee Pannu as a bankable star in Bollywood. Even her co-star Amitabh Bachchan was impressed with Taapsee’s performance! The film became a super-hit and did a business of 68 crores in India.

NEWTON(2017)

This black comedy can certainly be counted as one of Rajkummar Rao’s best performances and was showered with love both by critics and audiences. Pankaj Tripathi, one of the finest actors Indian cinema has ever seen also grabbed eyeballs. The Amit Masurkar directorial made on a small budget collected Rs 22.18 crores in India.

ANDHADHUN (2018)

The Sriram Raghavan film, which won Ayushmann Khurrana a National Award as Best Actor, was the most unconventionally entertaining thriller of the decade. Tabu as the antagonist and Radhika Apte in a prop but interesting role were in superb form.

Bollywood
The Bollywood actor who has left the biggest impact lately has to be Ayushmann Khurrana, who has delivered seven consecutive hist over the past few years, without actually wavering from his focus on solid content and character. Bollywood Country

STREE (2018)

Another female-oriented script which stood out in an array of male-dominated movies was Amar Kaushik’s “Stree”. The horror-comedy with a strong social message starred Shraddha Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi and Aparshakti Khurrana in key roles. The film was an instant hit at the box office and collected 129.67 crores in India.

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URI: THE SURGIVAL STRIKE (2019)

2019 was another year which delivered so many good films that it makes one difficult to choose. Our pick from this year is Aditya Dhar’s “Uri: The Surgical Strike” which is based on India’s surgical strike against militant launchpads along the Line of Control in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in September, 2016. The film starring Vicky Kaushal, Yami Gautam, Paresh Rawal and Mohit Raina received critical acclaim and love from the audience for paying a fitting tribute to the Indian Army. (IANS)