Bollywood celebs have time and again tried to stay away from politics. However, they have never shied away from playing politicians on the big screen. Here are some of the most talked-about films based on the lives of Indian politicians:
‘Thackeray’, a 2019 film directed by filmmaker Abhijit Panse, is based on the life of political leader Balasaheb Thackeray. He formed the Shiv Sena party in 1966 as a cartoonist. The protagonist was portrayed by actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, while his wife was played by actress Amrita Rao. In Maharashtra, the right-wing pro-Marathi and Hindu nationalist party is still active and now in power. ‘Thackeray’ wielded considerable power among Maharashtrians, particularly in Mumbai, where he pushed for their rights. He began his career as a cartoonist for the Free Press Journal before launching his own cartoon weekly, Marmik, with his brother. Following the success of Marmik, he founded his own political organisation, Shiv Sena.
‘Sardar’, a 1994 film directed by filmmaker Ketan Mehta starring actor Paresh Rawal, was based on the life of freedom fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The film is a coming-of-age drama in which Patel mocks political leader Mahatma Gandhi's struggle for freedom. However, after meeting Gandhi, he decides to join the cause for freedom. Patel went on to become India's first deputy Prime Minister. He was a barrister and a prominent leader of the Indian National Congress. He was frequently referred to as 'Sardar' or 'chief.' He served as India's home minister during the Indian political unification and the 1947 Indo-Pak conflict.
‘An Insignificant Man’
The 2016 sociopolitical documentary is centered on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is also the leader of the Aam Aadmi Party. It is about the growth of anti-corruption rallies in India, which resulted in the foundation of the AAP. At the Toronto International Picture Festival, the film earned a standing ovation. Kejriwal, a former bureaucrat, received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership for his anti-corruption crusade. Kejriwal served as a joint commissioner of income tax in the Indian Revenue Service before becoming a politician.
‘Sarkar’, ‘Sarkar Raj’, and ‘Sarkar 3’ are claimed to be influenced by ‘The Godfather’ and partly based on the life of politician Balasaheb Thackeray. ‘Sarkar’, played by actor Amitabh Bachchan, is thought to resemble Thackeray in various ways. In the film, actor Abhishek Bachchan plays Amitabh Bachchan's son. In addition to them, there is actress Katrina Kaif, actor Kay Kay Menon, actress Tanisha Mukherjee, and actress Supriya Pathak in this film directed by filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma. The second part saw the addition of actress Aishwarya Rai. The third part saw the addition of actor Manoj Bajpayee, actor Amit Sadh, actress Yami Gautam, and many others.
Actress Kangana Ranaut plays late actor-politician Jayalalithaa in the 2021 Indian biographical drama. Actor Arvind Swami plays actor-politician MG Ramachandran in the film. Filmmaker AL Vijay directed the film, which was released in Tamil, Hindi, and Telugu. Jayalalithaa's path as an actor, politician, and female role model in Indian politics is chronicled in the film. She served as Tamil Nadu's chief minister six times, for a total of 14 years, which is an achievement par excellence.
‘Gandhi, My Father’
Filmmaker Feroz Abbas Khan's 2007 film depicts the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi's tumultuous relationship with his eldest son, Harilal Gandhi. Gandhi's eldest son was played by, actor Akshaye Khanna. While Harilal desired to study overseas to become an attorney like his father, Gandhi desired that he join him in his battle for issues in India. Harilal abandons his father's dreams and joins his wife Gulab and children, but he is unable to educate himself or earn a living, resulting in a life of poverty. His wife dies of illness, and he turns to drink, converts to Islam, and then returns to a separate Hindu sect. He dies shortly after Gandhi is assassinated.
‘The Accidental Prime Minister’
The 2019 film is based on political analyst Sanjaya Baru's book ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’. It starred actor Anupam Kher as then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The film depicts Singh's fall as a victim to the Congress' dynastic attempt to boost politician Rahul Gandhi. Sanjaya Baru was played by actor Akshaye Khanna, politician Priyanka Gandhi was played by actress Aahana Kumra, and politician Sonia Gandhi was played by actress Suzanne Bernert.
‘PM Narendra Modi’
Narendra Modi, who starts off as a poor tea-seller, rises up to several challenges in life and finally gets elected as the 14th Prime Minister of India. The film starring actor Vivek Anand Oberoi in the titular role takes a favourable look at the political career of Narendra Modi, the current Prime Minister of India. It focuses on his life in regional politics before the 2014 election in which he swept to power. How he started from humble beginnings and went on to become the leader of the country is a remarkable journey in itself.