Political films don’t influence outcome of elections, says Prakash Jha

NEW DELHI: Political films are the flavour of Bollywood in 2019 ahead of Lok Sabha polls but according to filmmaker Prakash Jha these movies have no effect on elections.

While “Uri: The Surgical Strike” and “The Accidental Prime Minister” were the first releases of the new year, other films in the polarised political space to follow through are “Thackeray” and “The Tashkent Files”.

“The Accidental Prime Minister”, starring Anupam Kher as former prime minister Manmohan Singh and based on a book by his former media advisor, released amid accusations that it portrays the Gandhi family in poor light.

The Congress termed the film “propaganda” ahead of the general elections.

But Jha says labelling the films is not a new phenomenon as even his film, the critically-acclaimed “Raajneeti” (2010) was called a propaganda film.

“People will call films what they want to. They were hurt when I made ‘Raajneeti’. What propaganda will happen in ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’? All this propaganda will not affect the outcome of the elections,” the director told PTI.

Jha, whose filmography stands on a string of sociopolitical features such as “Mrityudand”, “Gangaajal” films and “Apaharan”, said the entire scenario shifts when there are elections.

“You can put your heart and soul to do things, but it won’t matter. All values and connotations change when it’s election time. Why do people vote and don’t, it all means something different in this country,” he said.

Asked if the film industry is trying to cosy up to the establishment, the director said it was not new if it was happening.

“I don’t know. Maybe some people are trying to. But why not? And when has that not happened? I believe a film might be about anything, it will only stand on its own when it has the power to engage people.

“A set of devoted audience members might go and watch the film but the masses will pay for the tickets if the film talks about entertainment. If ‘Uri’ and ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ are entertaining people, they are standing individually as films in their own capacity and are being accepted. So why not?” Jha said.

Two biopics on Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been also announced, one by BJP MP Paresh Rawal and another with Vivek Oberoi in the lead.

And the filmmaker believes the trend shows that it is “an interesting subject and people are trying to make an interesting film on it”.

Jha, who last directed 2016’s “Jai Gangaajal”, said he recently completed the shooting for his next directorial.

“I have just completed the shooting of a film, which revolves around the education sector in the country. Another film of mine is going on floors next month,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jha’s production “Fraud Saiyyan”, featuring Arshad Warsi and Saurabh Shukla, is slated to be released Friday. PTI

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