Considering the political scenario in modern day India, it would be prudish to assume that politics does not play a role in Bollywood filmmaking.
Content based on the politics of a country, whether it is as a scathing satire or an accurate depiction of the prevailing situations, has always been an aspect of filmmaking which content creators have tinkered with. Sometimes, the formulaic representations have tanked the box office, while others have hit it out of the proverbial park.
Here, we will take a look at 10 Bollywood films with politics as their central theme that have done relatively well at the box office.
Kissi Kursi Ka (1977)
Amrit Nahata, a former Member of Parliament, was at the helm for this movie. The film takes political satire as its main selling point and goes on to depict the lives of Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi. It was ultimately banned by the government due to the sensitive issues that it tackled satirically, and eventually, all the prints were seized.
The Manoj Bajpayee and Raveena Tandon starrer was released in 1999, and was directed by E.Nivas. Ram Gopal Verma played a part in its production, along with Nitin Manmohan. It depicts the life of a police officer who values honesty above everything else. The film narrates the effects that the criminal politics of Bihar has on him and his family. Manoj Bajpayee was lauded for his performance and the film won a National Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.
Anil Kapoor and Amrish Puri were cast in this 2001 movie, as a journalist and politician respectively. Shivaji (Anil Kapoor) interviews politician Baljit Chauhan (Amrish Puri) and accuses him with facts and figures, which upsets Baljit to no end. Baljit challenges Shivaji to face the problems of a CM for a day. Shivaji accepts and brings about massive positive changes to the capital city. The two then lock horns, in a fight for the political fate of the city.
Yuva stands for youth, and is a political drama released in the year 2004. It was directed by Mani Ratnam and stars Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan, Esha Deol, Vivek Oberoi, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukerji. The film showcases how a single incident on the Howrah Bridge of Kolkata can intertwine the lives of three men, completely unknown to each other and who come from radically different backgrounds. The film calls for the empowerment of youth and their increased interest in politics, leading to a revolution. The movie not only has a different take on student politics, but also features music by none other than A.R. Rahman.
Sarkar is the brainchild of Ram Gopal Verma, taking inspiration from the classic that is The Godfather. It features an ensemble cast of Amitabh Bachchan, Katrina Kaif, Tanisha Mukherjee, Anupam Kher, Kay Kay Menon and Supriya Pathak. The film was a hit at the box office and premiered at the New York Asian Film Festival. It has also been a part of the archive of the American Academy of Motion Pictures.
Released in 2009, Gulaal had Anurag Kashyap don his director’s hat and attracted the likes of Piyush Mishra and Jesse Randhawa for the roles. The film talks about the injustices prevalent in society and the evils that one has to commit when pursuing power. Rajasthan’s student politics, mixed with a dose of secessionist politics was portrayed along with a great script and better screenplay.
Peepli Live (2010)
This satirical movie, produced by Aamir Khan, tackles the problem of farmer suicides in India. It also acts as a double barrel and attacks the incessant roundabout tactics of the media. The government is also criticized for trying to bribe the people involved in the issue and for playing vote-bank politics. The film is definitely a must watch and is an eye opener for a large number of farmers in dire situations.
A political thriller directed by Prakash Jha, it tells the story of a man whose politician father is shot dead. Due to this, he has to cancel his plans to move to the United States of America, and join politics. In turn, he learns how to live the life of a politician, including the inherent deceit and corruption.
Ram Gopal Verma partnered with Amitabh Bachchan once again for this political drama based on the life of a corrupt politician, and his dealings with a broadcasting business. The film also stars Riteish Deshmukh and Paresh Rawal in supporting roles. It was premiered in the absolutely prestigious Toronto International Film Festival, and opened to rave reviews. The movie showcases morality based on honesty.
Satyagraha is directed by Prakash Jha and features some big names of Bollywood such as Amitabh Bachchan, Amrita Rao, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Ajay Devgn, and Manoj Bajpayee. The film exhibits the life of a man and his son, who decide to give back to the society that they are grateful for. They form their own party in order to drive out corruption and live a better life.