Is Propaganda-ish Bollywood Movies BJP’s Strategy For Upcoming Elections?

12 January 2019

Sangita Agarwal

Bhubaneswar: Two political movies released on Friday just before the upcoming elections,and three more in line to be released this year. All five films ‘coincidentally’ seem to be in favour of the ruling BJP party.

‘The Accidental Prime Minister’, and ‘Uri’ got released today.

1: The Accidental Prime Minister is based on memoirs penned by Sanjaya Baru who was Manmohan Singh’s media advisor from 2004 to 2008. Coincidentally, the book was published before the 2014 elections and was used as propaganda by BJP leaders with a series of questions inspired by the book.

Manmohan Singh might be an ‘accidental’ Prime Minister, as per Baru but the release of this movie when the polls are around the corner is no accident at all.

Moreover, BJP sealed the fact that it was a propaganda movie when it shared the trailer of this film on its official twitter account. This movie could have worked in their favour if they had not engaged in this petty behaviour.

The BJP twitter handle wrote, "Riveting tale of how a family held the country to ransom for 10 long years. Was Dr Singh just a regent who was holding on to the PM’s chair till the time heir was ready? Watch the official trailer of #TheAccidentalPrimeMinister, based on an insider’s account, releasing on 11 Jan!"

The movie paints Manmohan Singh as a victim of the politics and portrays him as a weak puppet whose strings were controlled by the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi during his dual tenure as the Prime Minister in UPA-I and II governments.

2: Uri is based on surgical strikes conducted by the Indian army in 2016 retaliating for a terrorist attack on an army camp in Uri (Kashmir) in which 19 soldiers died.

With the surgical strike in the main story, the political propaganda of BJP is added very subtly. Using Indian army as a tool, the film tries to prove the ruling party’s claims that it has firm decision making, patriotic muscularity and valour in defending the country, which was missing in the previous leaders.

Its release just before the elections can be very well used to corner votes for the ruling party.

But very few know that the former foreign secretary S Jaishankar said to the Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, calling the strikes: “Target-specific, counter-terrorist operations (CI ops) across the Line of Control which the army had done in the past too, but this is the first time the government has gone public about it.”

Three more movies are lined up to release this year and are accused of being political propaganda of the ruling party.

1: Thackeray which is a biopic of late Shiv Sena supremo. The trailer blatantly glorifies the legacy of Balasaheb, including his controversial role in 1993 Bombay riots, and scathing attacks on south Indians and Muslims.

Shiv Sena and BJP have always had an alliance in Maharashtra by the name ‘Yuti’. So if Shiv Sena falls short of a majority, they can always turn to BJP and gets some seats.

2: The Tashkent Files which is based around the mysterious circumstances under which the former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri died after signing the Tashkent declaration with Pakistan. One can expect some serious allegations towards the Congress in the film as filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri has an affiliation towards the ruling party.

3: PM Narendra Modi a biopic on the Prime Minister is all set to glorify the person and the film is slated to release somewhere during the elections.

Bollywood films have a long tradition to produce politically-tinged movies but this spark of political propaganda in 2019 is more than questionable.