India's Theatrical Politics: Bollywood, Billionaires And The BJP

(MENAFN- Asia Times) In the grand theater of Indian politics, where scripts are penned with votes in mind, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has found its most captivating narrative in the world of cinema.

As the curtains rise on the 2024 elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP is once again taking center stage, this time with a cast of characters that includes some of India's wealthiest and most influential figures. The BJP's script for victory is simple: portray India as a Hindu nation and use cinema as a wide-reaching tool to propagate the message.

As the lights dim in theaters across the country, audiences are swept into narratives that do more than entertain; they subtly indoctrinate the masses in the right-wing, BJP-aligned Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) volunteer paramilitary organization's Hindu nationalism.

By shaping narratives that subtly endorse“Hindutva” ideologies, sometimes even employing Muslim actors to deliver skewed messages, Bollywood contributes to a socio-political echo chamber in favor of Modi's BJP.

Consider“Pathan,” featuring a Muslim superstar, yet the film weaves a narrative that's anything but supportive of the community he represents. It's a clever ploy – use a beloved Muslim face to sell a story that subtly fans the flames of distrust against his own, masking the bitter pill of bias with the sugarcoat of mainstream cinema.

Then there's“Border,” which dramatizes historical conflicts with Pakistan to such an extent that the enemy image becomes not just a wartime necessity but a peacetime norm. The movie, garbed in patriotism, perpetuates a narrative that sees India at endless odds with its neighbor, reinforcing the“them versus us” mindset that is so critical to the RSS's broader Hindu nationalist agenda.

“Uri: The Surgical Strike” pumps up the volume on heroism and revenge. It's not just a flick; it's a full-blown rally cry that sings in tune with the RSS's lines. The film turns real-life military drama into a thrilling show of bravery, getting folks riled up while skipping over the tricky questions about what these actions actually mean for everyone involved.

“Kurbaan” is dressed up like a love story but underneath plants seeds of mistrust toward Muslims, portraying them mostly as radicals or villains. The movie stealthily taps into the fears and biases that some might quietly harbor, bringing these ideas into the spotlight. That aligns perfectly with RSS's strategy of marginalizing Muslims, relegating India's largest minority to the sidelines under the guise of a blockbuster narrative.


Asia Times

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