Politics has never really been a favoured subject for Bollywood filmmakers. In a country where mainstream cinema never really got out of the grip of censor woes and protest groups, the Hindi film industry by large and far avoided cinema that spoke of politics and politicians. But thanks to OTT platforms, that is changing now.
Many films with a political theme have been banned in the past. These include Kissaa Kursee Kaa, Aandhi, Parzania, Firaaq, Inshallah Kashmir and more. Bollywood cinema has naturally hesitated looking at Indian politics and political themes while setting up fictional drama.
However, the emerging streaming spaces and OTT platforms is a different ball game altogether. With no direct censor control and with films and/or series going straight to cyberspace, makers have the luxury to explore politics through fiction. While not many shows have directly tackled such themes, the numbers are growing.
It will be a while before an Indian filmmaker will be game to show heavy politics the way, say, The Comey Rule did. But there has been a definite move towards intrepid portrayal of political characters and themes in our shows lately. IANS brings you some of the best shows on OTT platforms that use politics as a springboard for fictional drama:
Set in Delhi, the fictional drama takes one behind the closed corridors of power and politics, and showcases the lengths to which people will go in the pursuit of power. Tandav stars Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Kritika Kamra, Sarah Jane Dias, Sandhya Mridul, Annup Sonii and Hiten Tejwani. “Tiger Zinda Hai” director Ali Abbas Zafar is making his digital debut with the series. The Amazon original series will release on January 15.
DARK 7 WHITE
The political thriller is centred on the death of Sumeet Vyas’s Yudhveer Singh while he was on his way to becoming the Chief Minister, and a police officer (Jatin Sarna) joining the investigation. Also featuring Nidhi Singh, Monica Chaudhary, Taniya Kalra, Kunj Anand, and Rachit Bahal, the show is available on OTT platforms Zee5 and ALTBalaji.
Ramya Krishnan’s “Queen” chronicles the life of Shakti Seshadri, a character that bears uncanny resemblance to late Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa. The series captures her struggle with her family’s adverse financial position, her excelling in academics and rising to the rank of a state topper and then emerging a superstar in the film industry, and eventually becoming the youngest chief minister of her state. The show streams on the OTT platform, MX Player.
CITY OF DREAMS
Set in Mumbai, the 10-episode political thriller is helmed by Nagesh Kukunoor. It narrates the story of the feud within the Gaikwad family, which erupts after an assassination attempt on a polarising political figure. The show stars Atul Kulkarni and Priya Bapat, and is available on Disney+ Hotstar.
MODI: JOURNEY OF A COMMON MAN
Mahesh Thakur, Darshan Jariwala, Ashish Sharma, and Makrand Deshpande topline the cast of the political drama that follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s life from childhood to 2014, when he becomes Prime Minister of India. The show is available on the OTT platform, Eros Now.