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10 Films to Watch as the Assembly Election Frenzy Heightens

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India anxiously awaits the results of the legislative Assembly polls held in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry. To keep you company ahead of the counting on May 2, Silverscreen India brings to you a set of movies on the electoral system in the country.

Stay indoors, keep safe and watch these ten iconic movies as the results are announced.

  1. Mandela (2021) 
(Credit: Netflix)

This Tamil political satire written and directed by Maddone Ashwin, has many laughable, relatable frames rooted in social justice. The film’s runtime is spanned over the experience of a local body elections held at Soorangudi, a village in Tamil Nadu. Rival political parties attempt to court Mandela as his vote is a swing vote.

The film covers the absurdity of the political campaigns, the importance of every vote and deep-rooted caste divide existing in the state. It also attempts to reinstate hope in the power of people and goodness.

Released six days before voting in Tamil Nadu began, the film stars an ensemble cast including the likes of Yogi Babu, Sheela Rajkumar and Shangli Murugan. In an interview with Firstpost, Yogi Babu who plays the lead says, “I thought, if this fellow (Pradeep Ranganathan, who directed Comali)  who knows me so well, and who has directed me, can cry, then probably I am not that bad with emotion.”

 2. Newton (2017) 


 

“Although some rogues get elected to parliament, we will not allow gangster tactics in the election,” says Sanjay Mishra, who plays an officer of the Election Commission of India, in Newton.

The 2021 Assembly Elections has raised questions on the Election Commission of India, with the Madras High Court calling it “the most irresponsible institution” and said that the EC should be booked under murder charges too, for flouting Covid protocols during election campaigns and voting.

Newton, which was India’s official entry to the Oscars in 2017, talks about a volunteer, Newton Kumar (Rajkummar Rao) and his resolution to conduct free and fair elections in a Maoist-inflicted area. The film highlights the challenges in the world’s largest democracy and the right of every citizen to exercise their franchise. The film is led by a stellar cast comprising Anjali Patil, Raghubir Yadav, and Pankaj Tripathi.

3. Kissa Kursi Ka (1978)  

This film, which is a Hindi satire on the then Indira Gandhi-led Central government, was banned by the Supreme Court during the Emergency in 1975. In fact, the Congress tried to burn all copies of the film as it exposed some uncomfortable truths about the party which was then in power.

Kissaaa Kursee Kaa directed by Amrit Nahata depicts the lives of a power-hungry leaders.

The film barely disguises references to the slogan- Garibi Hatao and boldly names Rukhsana Sultan, who was a close friend of Indira Gandhi’s son Sanjay Gandhi, RK Dhawan, Indira Gandhi’s secretary, and Dhirendra Bhramachari, a controversial godman.

The print available on Youtube is the remake of the film later filmed in 1978.

4. Aaytha Ezhuthu (2004) 

The name of the film is a letter in the Tamil language written in the form of three dots.

This perfectly substantes the storyline featuring three young men-Michael Vasanth (Suriya), Inbasekar (Madhavan), Arjun Balakrishnan (Siddharth). The lives of these men from different social classes intersect through student politics. The film evloves when Michael’s student party goes on to fight the elections against a seasoned politician, Selvanayagam (Bharathiraja).  

Mani Ratnam, the film’s director of the film, remade the film in Hindi titled Yuva, starring Abhishek Bachchan, Vivek Oberoi, and Ajay Devgn. 

5. Ko (2011)  

This Tamil political action thriller was directed by late KV Anand. The film traces the life of a photojournalist, Ashwin Kumar (played by Jiiva), who is assigned to cover the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.

While he is covering a political campaign, he spots the chief minister, Yogeswaran (Prakash Raj), beating a person with a slipper and prints a photo of the moment on the first page. What follows is a string of intimidations, betrayal and a tussle for power. 

The film urges people to probe their leaders and speaks about the accountability of media. It includes powerful performances by the cast includes Ajmal Ameer, Piaa Bajpai, and Karthika

6. Kodi (2016)  

Kodi, directed by RS Durai Senthilkumar, speaks about a by-election in Tamil Nadu’s Pollachi constituency. Two brothers- Kodiarasu and Anbarasu (both played by Dhanush) are born and brought up in a politically-charged environment in Pollachi. When their father, a member of the Democratic Party, immolates himself while protesting against mercury waste generated by a corporate house, Kodiarasu steps in his shoes while Anbarasu maintains his distance from politics.

Unfortunate twists and turns lead to the latter winning an MLA ticket to pursue the mercury waste issue.

Other than Dhanush’s performance, the film stars Trisha, Anupama Parmeswaran, SA Chandrasekhar, and Vijaykumar in seminal roles. 

 7. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) 

The Anurag Kashyap-directed, critically acclaimed gangster film portraying a family feud, has a scene explicitly showcasing how booth capturing is done.

Centred around the coal mafia town of Wasseypur in Dhanbad, the film sequences the hyper-reality of the socio-political situation there. This small yet impactful scene will grab one’s attention due to its reality. The film shows politicians hiring gangs to carry out their dirty electoral tricks- a sentence that we hear almost in every election news coverage.  

The film stars Nawazuddin Siddique, Manoj Bajpai, Richa Chadha, and Huma Qureshi

8. Raees (2017) 

An alcohol dealer in Gujarat, a dry state, contests elections to defeat his former friend and comrade who goes on to become the chief minister.

The film directed by Rahul Dholakia revolves around the life of Raees (Shah Rukh Khan), who is a notorious, oddly-confident kid. Intertwined with the illegal alcohol trade since childhood, Raees grows up to become the kingpin of smuggling liquor in his state. His business ambitions are supported by the chief minister (Pramod Pathak) and the opposition leader (Uday Thikekar) until their relationship takes a bad turn.

The film is a wholesome entertainer with an ensemble cast of Mahira Khan, Nawazuddin Siddique, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, and Atul Kulkarni.   

9. Sarkar (2018)

Packed with punches and slow-motion fight scenes, Sarkar is hilarious to watch with many moments of absurdity. Directed by AR Murugadoss, the film revolves around an NRI businessman, who calls himself a ‘corporate criminal’ and his fight against illegal voting. Amongst other things, he also enters the electoral race, fights ‘the bad guys’ and finds time to help people.

In one scene after Sundar Ramaswamy (Vijay) finds out that his vote has been illegally cast, he video calls Mark Zuckerberg and his lawyer Jethmalani and says, “Send me notes on Indian Elections”. His on-screen beau Nila (Keerthy Suresh) gawks at him in awe. Consider this to be a light election drama to watch before 2021 results are declared.

10. Thennavan (2003) 

In this Tamil film directed by AM Nandakumar, Thennavan (Vijaykanth), an IAS officer is promoted promoted as the chief election commissioner during general elections. He goes on to fight against power, and ensures free and fair elections.

In the film, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Ilanthiraiyan (Nassar) plants bombs in his own political rally and blames the opposition for it. Later, he is jailed, freed and brought back to power. It is a rollercoaster ride which showcases the arrest and release of Thennavan. In the end, he urges voters to boycott elections to save the country from corrupt politicians.

The film is said to be one of the several steps taken by actor-politican Vijayakanth towards furthering his political career.

It also stars Kiran Rathod, Kavitha Rajini, Vivek, and Thalaivasal Vijay.

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