The subject of electronic voting machines (EVMs) is now a part of the mainstream Hindi cinema. Rajniti, the star studded bollywood film that hit the silver screens yesterday has some interesting references to the EVMs.
Rajniti is a tell-all commentary on today’s politics. The film showcases all that ails politics today: violence, intrigue, corruption, dynasty politics, sex and hold your breath, EVMs. That EVMs have now been added as yet another dimension of Indian politics shows the salience the subject has achieved, notwithstanding the loud protests from the misleading and fictitious claims made by the Election Commission of India.
I am delightfully enjoying writing this blog. I am a movie buff and never tire of watching films. This one is a bonus for me because it deals with the subject of EVMs that we have been preoccupied with. Film Director Prakash Jha deals with the subject very delicately taking care not to make any sweeping allegations.
The film has shots of people outside polling stations complaining about non-working and faulty functioning of EVMs and an expert (like our Hari Prasad) explaining on a TV station that tampering of EVMs is possible. One of the main characters in the film – Manoj Bajpai – who is a chief ministerial candidate is told by someone that some techies have set up antennas and other equipment and are switching votes in the voting machines. Though this turns out to be a ploy to kill Manoj Bajpai by calling him over to a remote location, the film highlights the kind of suspicions that parties have over EVMs.
With Rajniti showing the way, the EVMs have entered the portals of bollywood. Thanks to the controversy generated by the Censor board, Congress party etc. the film is drawing huge crowds. I watched the film at PVR Priya in Delhi (one of the largest in the national capital) where the theatre was jam-packed. If the film dealing with murky politics is appealing to snobbish Delhites, it would have far greater impact in the Hindi hinterland that breathes politics in its soul.
Movies as the medium have a huge impact. Rajniti may have begun a new subject and streak in dealing with the subject of EVMs in Indian cinema. There is, however, only limited window of opportunity available for the producers to exploit as the EVMs are going to be history in less than two years; something I said before and stand by even now.
Before the EVMs exit, let us explore if we can get someone to write a full script with the EVMs as the main theme in any Indian language. We know so much about it now that can help write a great script and make a fantastic film. If you know any producer interested in the theme, do refer them to me. I know a top rated Hindi film director who is credited with making fantastic cinema. I would also begin a dialogue with him. This is not sidestepping our agenda. Rather, cinema remains one of the most powerful communicators of the message and is more democratic and independent than the other mass media like television and print.
Whoever makes such a film, I have no doubt it would click with the audiences, provided it passes the preying eyes of the Censor board.