History has it, Indian Politics and Cinema have long and strong roots back in time which is labyrinthine.
Back in time, a questionnaire sent to Mahatma Gandhi by the Indian Cinematography Committee in the year 1927. A Bombay daily attempted to find Gandhi’s message on the occasion of the 25th year of Indian cinema.
Gandhi’s Secretary responded saying that he had the least interest in cinema and a word of appreciation should not be expected.
Gandhi’s negative inclination just happened to boost up the curiosity amongst the work of creative minds from Dadasaheb Phalke to Aamir Khan.
Films came up which dealt with the core themes of Gandhian ideology—non-violence, love and sacrifice, Hindu-Muslim unity, the rural-urban divide, rejection of crass commercialism, women’s emancipation, and fear of moral decay.
It was only through movies that the Gandhian Principles were glorified and came more into the limelight. While these filmmakers may not have imbibed his ideas consciously, their films revealed his influence.
Prithviraj Kapoor was the first Bollywood star to enter parliament as a nominated member. He was a Nehru follower and staged his ideas in the Prithvi Theatre.
Nehru mined Kapoor for cultural diplomacy and often asked him to lead deputations abroad. When Nehru met Joseph Stalin, the dictator kept asking him about Raj Kapoor and his movie Awara.
Being the member of parliament Kapoor stayed at Princess Park, not far from India Gate, in New Delhi.
Kapoor had a expectorate with MS Golwalkar while traveling, just after the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue was released from jail.
Actress Zohra Sehgal, whose sister Uzma Mumtaz had been romantically linked to Kapoor, recalls how a mob had once threatened to stop a play, Pathan, at Prithvi Theatre.
Apart from being a Nehru supporter, that did not stop him from admiring another Independence hero, Subhas Chandra Bose. Kapoor had raised money for Netaji’s Indian National Army.
Today, many Bollywood stars are confrontational supporters of Modi. It actually stands out in sharp contrast with the subdued style of actors-turned-politicians of the past.
Modi is different from Nehru is every possible way. In the current era, Modi, too, has been quick to understand that politics alone would be insufficient to get his message across to the masses.