The evolution of marketing has allowed us to shift from the age-old campaign rhetoric to stories that an individual can connect with, stories that invoke emotions. While this is a highly debatable issue, it is easy to conceive the idea of movies as an effective medium for targeted marketing. Movies establish a deeper connection with the target market as they don’t promote or praise, they simply show a sequence, a dialogue as they lead us from one point to another as spectators.
It is no surprise that we love watching movies as we unplug from our realities for two-three hours on the weekend, sipping on our favorite soft drink, crunching pop-corn and watching the big screen like we’re programmed to.
The first month of 2019 has proven to be an exciting month for Bollywood with movies like Uri and The Accidental Prime Minister leading the way. As they pump a sense of nationalism and devotion, they also seem to shape the mainstream political narrative of the public.
Uri: The Surgical Strike
Uri is centered around the Surgical Strike of 2016 when the Indian Army crossed the Line of Control and conducted Surgical Strikes against several terrorist launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir that had attacked Indian army bases on numerous occasions.
The film revolves around the journey of Vihaan Singh Shergill, a young Major in the Indian Army who decides to shift back to New Delhi from the border in order to spend more time with his mother who is suffering from Dementia. After terrorists attack a military base and kill his brother-in-law in the attack, Shergill promises to avenge his brother-in-law’s death and returns to the field.
The movie gives the viewer a peek into the intricacies of a secret military operation such as a surgical strike. While Bollywood has its share of war movies, none have portrayed the use of high-end military technology like Uri, from drones to night vision goggles, the Indian army almost seems like the US army.
In less than two weeks after its release, Uri entered the 100 crore club. The team also released a half-fake-version of the movie on the internet for hackers who leak movies online, with a surprise cut in between featuring Kaushal and Gautam stating “Ab India ghar mein ghusega bhi, aur marega bhi“. PM Modi himself quoted the movie’s tagline at a recent event.
Even though the ending of the movie is predictable, the audience stays with the narrative and all the while glued to the screen. Upcoming actor Vicky Kaushal does a commendable job as Major Vihaan, with co-stars including Paresh Rawal, Yami Gautam, and Kirti Kulhari complementing his role throughout. The extra’s that act as the major leaders and ministers of the country have also done equally well.
The Accidental Prime Minister
‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ is based on the life of former Prime Minister Shri Manmohan Singh. Portrayed by Anupam Kher, the film is a representation of the book written by Sanjaya Baru, a prominent journalist. Baru was not only the media advisor to Singh but was also considered as a close friend of the former prime minister.
The movie does not have a structured story-line as it attempts to show the life of Singh as the prime minister during the key moments of Political history by jumping from one scene to another. From his selection to his work on signing the Nuclear Deal, to the problems he faced in Parliament, they revolve around Singh and portray all the key figures and events that influenced him and affected him.
The bias of the movie is clearly laid out as the Gandhi family politics and the decision-making framework within the Indian National Congress (INC) are given the spotlight. Subtly, the film portrays Rahul Gandhi as a weak, immature and pitiful challenger who has solely progressed due to his family’s legacy while former INC President Sonia Gandhi is portrayed as the mastermind trying to control Singh and the country as per her own terms.
The biggest problem with the film is that all the actors come across as caricatures rather than characters. The entire movie is shot only through one perspective which makes the viewer question its credibility and accuracy, only if the viewer is reflective enough to hold back and question the same.
While it is a one-time watch for all Indian citizens, it is important for viewers to hold back and reflect, not to flow within the stream of ‘opinions’ and ‘views’ that portray themselves as ‘facts’ and ‘realities’.
With the Lok Sabha elections coming up, the release of these two movies does raise some questions. While both movies were based on completely different stories, it is clear that one of them indirectly damages the reputation of a national political party and the other indirectly praises the work done by leaders in power to conduct India’s first surgical strike against its rival neighbor.
Can two different paths lead to the same destination?
Sources: The Hindu, TOI, Indian Express
Image Credits: DNA India