Polls in­spire biopics too

The Asian Age - - Edit -

The poll sea­son spawns many ac­tiv­i­ties, and many may even be use­ful for the econ­omy and the GDP curve. The 2019 gen­eral elec­tion, how­ever, seems unique, hav­ing spurred ac­tiv­ity in Bol­ly­wood too — it’s lit­er­ally rain­ing biopics. One won­ders if this is to gar­ner crit­i­cal ac­claim or aimed only at the box of­fice, but it’s no co­in­ci­dence that those whose life sto­ries are be­ing recre­ated on cel­lu­loid are na­tional lead­ers. It is a sign of more lib­eral times that biopics on lead­ers are be­ing op­posed only in pro- forma le­gal suits than with out­right bans as seen lately in more con­tentious times, when In­dia was rent asun­der by a ma­jor battle of ide­olo­gies dur­ing the Indira Gandhi days.

The talk of a mere like­ness to ne­tas or cri­tique of their pub­lic life may have been suf­fi­cient in the old days to cut off a film project on our politi­cians. Film­mak­ers seem more in­spired these days to at­tempt biopics of lead­ers, even if they aren’t of the out­right lauda­tory kind as in the por­trayal of Dr Man­mo­han Singh in The Ac­ci­den­tal Prime Min­is­ter. It is, how­ever, quite un­likely that the films on Naren­dra Modi or Rahul Gandhi will be overtly crit­i­cal of ei­ther per­son­al­ity in the race for Prime Min­is­ter from the sum­mer of 2019. The sus­pi­cion that such films are too con­ve­niently timed and are aimed more at pro­pa­ganda than artis­tic por­trayal of lead­ers’ lives could lead to the box of­fice not quite tak­ing a lik­ing to them. Irony is ren­dered ripe in Uri, a film on the sur­gi­cal strikes, touch­ing a chord with the pub­lic, sug­gest­ing that the na­tion will al­ways be greater than ne­tas in the minds of In­di­ans.

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