Earlier this year, dozens of the most famous Bollywood names brought a private jet from Mumbai, the capital of India, to New Delhi for a special meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Moody.
After that, the actor Ranver Singh, who has about 22 million Instagram subscribers, published a smiling photo of himself hugging Moody, explaining his “happiness” at the meeting, which attracted more than 3 million likes.
Bollywood plays a leading role in the Modi campaign for a second term, supporting it both on the screen and beyond, in a subtle and obvious way, in a significant shift from the relationships most closely associated with the Indian movie stars they once associated with politicians.
Film producer Maver Jane, who organized the meeting on January 10, said that Moody asked filmmakers and stars to “talk about patriotism, culture and Indian values” in his films.
“He understands the soft power of Bollywood and the impact it can have.”
Since people under the age of 35 account for almost two thirds of the population of India, numbering 1.3 billion people, and more than 15 million people are voting for the first time in the general election, which starts on Thursday, approval of the leading stars may be necessary.
Moody’s victory took place in 2014, but this time the rural unrest and concern about the lack of jobs threaten to make his party more triumphant in the monthly elections, when votes are scheduled for May 23.
In recent months, Moody has met at least four times in private with many of the biggest characters in Bollywood, most of whom have posted his personal photos on social networks, accompanied by vivid comments.
“We would like together to inspire and make positive changes to the change in India,” says the commentary on the director’s participation in Karan Johar’s Instagram star group Sylvie, in which Moody won over a million likes. He thanked the government for lowering taxes on movie tickets.
“Perhaps in the history of Indian politics there was no politician who could create a program to communicate with celebrities such as Narendra Moody,” said Jovitt Pal, a professor at the University of Michigan who analyzed Moody’s social media channel since 2009.
A BJP representative did not respond to Reuters repeated requests for comment.
Bollywood’s move contrasts well with Moody’s adoption of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata with the United States, where Hollywood traditionally accepts liberal leftist problems and supports Democrats. President Donald Trump recently mocked the Republican Party.
In addition to social networks, this year Bollywood has released three films with the participation of main actors in the role of prime minister.
One of them, “Uri – The Surgical Strike”, turned out to be the most successful this year, with a total of more than $ 35 million in the Indian box office.
In his speeches, Moody and his ministers repeatedly raised the film, which indirectly praised the Prime Minister and his national security adviser for planning the 2016 attack, which, according to India, struck the terrorist camps in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
Director Aditya Dar says that he has no political affiliation. “My film is about the Indian army,” Dahar told Reuters in January. “This is about the sacrifices they bring to their citizens.”
The film was released at the end of the same week as “Prime Minister by chance”, based on the unlicensed biography of Moody’s predecessor, Manmohan Singh.
The film, which failed in the box office, showed a clear contempt for Singh, calling it ineffective and forced to bow before the passions of the Gandhi family, which heads the main opposition party in India, the Indian National Congress.
“You can clearly say that some of these films are propaganda,” said influential film critic Rajiv Masand. “There is no ambiguity on the agenda there.”
A biography entitled “PM Narendra Modi” should be released on Thursday, when the first votes will be cast in a seven-stage election, after a series of 10 episodes on the Internet about Modi’s life.
Not everyone jumps onto Moody’s wagon.
More than 800 theater actors, actors and directors called on voters not to support Moody last week, but with the exception of a few, mostly independent directors and documentaries, who cannot get on the Bollywood list.
“The man who saved the nation five years ago depicted the livelihood of millions through his policies,” they said in the magazine Artists Unite.
“We urge our fellow citizens to vote for love, mercy, equality, social justice and to defeat the forces of darkness and barbarism.”
The main opposition party of the Congress also sought to attract Bollywood, and a separate source said that filmmakers encouraged to meet with their leader Rahul Gandhi.
Agenda of this meeting