As the Narendra Modi-led NDA government braces itself for a second term, entertainment content around the Prime Minister is also set to hit the screens again. PM Narendra Modi, the biographical film on Modi starring Vivek Oberoi will release this Friday and the web show produced by Eros Now, Modi- Journey Of A Common Man, is also streaming on the video platform again. Both had been banned by the Election Commission until the end of elections to ensure free and fair polling under the Model Code of Conduct.
Unsurprisingly, the hype is massive given NDA’s landslide victory in the Lok Sabha election. The movie’s new posters are emblazoned with taglines like ‘Aa rahe hain dobara PM Narendra Modi, ab koi rok nahi sakta’ (PM Narendra Modi is all set to return, there is no stopping him now), evidently signaling the return of both the leader and the film. The film is directed by Omung Kumar while the web show has been directed by Umesh Shukla of OMG- Oh My God! fame. It is currently streaming in five languages- Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Gujarati.
“The film will directly benefit from the Modi wave in the nation and its celebratory mood right now. Its prospects have received a major boost given that people who voted for their political leader will now throng to theatres in hordes," said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema who is looking at a 1,500 screen count for the film and higher collections than what could have been expected had it released as per schedule in April.
"Since the biopic essays the story behind India’s most talked about leader, it surely holds the attention of the audience. Narendra Modi is written about everyday but showcasing his journey from being a commoner to becoming India’s Prime Minister makes for an engaging and entertaining story. We look forward to receiving a favourable response from the audience," said Ridhima Lulla, chief content officer, Eros Group on re-streaming the show.
To be sure, the run-up to the 2019 General Elections saw the single-largest congregation of media and entertainment properties centered on a single political leader, Modi. Apart from the feature film and web show, there was also NaMo TV, a television channel featuring Modi’s speeches and BJP-centric content. Plus, filmmaker and former censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani launched a song called Chowkidar Teri Chowkidari Se in praise of the PM’s work and achievements.
“This election was being fought purely on the popularity or unpopularity of one leader which is Narendra Modi because of which it became a Presidential kind of election with a great degree of focus in and around him," Harish Bijoor, brand strategy expert and founder of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. had said referring to the US-style elections where a Donald Trump or Barack Obama drives all conversations around the campaign irrespective of political party lineage. Saurabh Uboweja, international brand expert and CEO at management consulting firm Brands of Desire said projecting a clear PM candidate has always helped a party’s election prospects.
Unlike 2014 when the BJP focused on traditional advertising -- be it print, television or radio, industry experts say the idea this time was to adopt surrogate methods and give it an advertorial spin- a combination of advertising and editorial, to command more credibility and believability. A film or show, in that case, made more sense than a full-page ad.
“The idea was also to penetrate deep into Bharat or small towns in India. In 2014, it was all about the need for development but in 2019, the biggest pitch is brand Modi, if you take that out of the equation, there is not much to choose from…because there is no other big story to be told," said Kishan Kumar MS, vice-president, Wavemaker India.