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Bollywood film gives Modi’s edge in election campaign

06 April, 2024 18:03

With just a few days remaining in the general elections in India, it looks like Bollywood movie has given an edge to Narendra Modi’s election campaign.

A film ’The Kerala Story’, about young Indian women recruited by Islamic State has sparked renewed controversy in the country with opposition claiming that it’s screening on national TV on Friday would “sow seeds of religious animosity”.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is widely expected to win multi-phase national elections which are set to begin on April 19.

His party has filed actors in the elections, votes from which will be counted on June 4.

But Bollywood’s involvement in the election takes a complicated turn on Friday night when the film was aired in Kerala controlled by an opposition party. It was aired by government-owned national broadcaster Doordarshan.

Critics say the film incites negative sentiments against India’s minority Muslim community.

The main opposition Congress party has also spoken out against the planned airing.

The federal ministry for information and broadcasting, which runs Doordarshan, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A BJP minister said the screening had nothing to do with politics.

“A movie is a piece of art and the expression of art is guaranteed in the constitution,” V. Muraleedharan, a junior foreign minister who is also from Kerala, told reporters.

The movie, which Modi has praised publicly, is among a string of Hindi-language films released since last year and which have appealed to BJP’s Hindu nationalist base.

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