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Elections on Celluloid

Mar 23, 2019

By: Student Contributor, University Blog Team

With less than a month remaining for the 17th Lok Sabha Elections, the frenzy around the polls is at its peak. For a billion people to be able to exercise their franchise, there is an army of people who ascertain that there are no loopholes in the process. Elections in India is a puzzle that many find hard to decipher. In fact, several countries have approached the Election Commission of India to take clue on ways to achieve a hassle-free election process.

The election campaigns, voting-process that unfolds in a democracy on the field makes for a perfect drama onscreen. It has all the ingredients for a film script. Thus, filmmakers for years now have used the election as a subject to weave intriguing stories.

Here we will list a few Indian movies where the election process finds adequate representation:

  1. Newton : This 2017 film paints the stark reality of the election process in Naxal-hit areas. In this case, a simpleton on election duty tries to meet all odds to ascertain that the 76 odd-voters in a Chhattisgarh village exercise their franchise with dignity. India’s official entry to the Oscars, this Amit Masurkar movie is a critique on the state of Indian democracy. On the one hand, there is a section of society that takes a keen interest in the election process and makes rational choices, on the other, there is a section for whom elections hold no value.
  1. Peepli Live : This 2010 film set in rural Madhya Pradesh is a satire which highlights the obsession of political leaders to exploit any given situation for their vote banks, in this case, the suicide plan of ‘Natha’-the protagonist.
  1. Raanjhanaa :  This 2013 movie set in the holy city of Banaras explores the romance that blossoms between the protagonists and gradually shifts gear to New Delhi exploring the political space. It showcases the political opinions of the youth of the day. The formation of a new-age political party by students, the class between corruption and idealism, the changing political agendas when the election nears taking the narrative forward post-interval. 
  1. Sarkar : This 2018 Tamil-action drama traces the journey of an NRI who returns to his country to cast his vote only to find that his vote has already been recorded as cast. Thereafter, begins the political saga, depicting the varied facets of the election space. This movie received much flak and remained one of the most controversial movies of the year.
  1. Gangs of Wasseypur : This 2012 multi-starrer unapologetically depicts lawlessness. The coal mining mafia and their lives find representation in its true light. The booth-capturing and the election scenario dissolves seamlessly into the narrative.

In the digital-age, movies still attract an audience who build opinions on the basis of the content. Thus, the platform has sometimes effectively used the medium to depict the real election scenario and at other times have misused its potential. 

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