What do we make of a rash of movies that have more to do with ideology than entertainment?

Piyush Mishra in JNU: Jahangir National University (2024) | Mahakaal Films

By Nandini Ramnath

Propaganda cinema, typically associated with autocracies like North Korea, Russia and Nazi-era Germany, appears to have found a home in India too. Several recent theatrical releases from Bollywood in particular have been labelled propaganda films. But how to tell these movies apart from the regular Friday offerings?

Should The Kashmir FilesThe Kerala StoryThe Vaccine WarArticle 370Bastar – The Naxal StorySwatantrya Veer Savarkar, and the upcoming JNU: Jahangir National University and The Sabarmati Report be clubbed together? Is it fair to add Uri: The Surgical StrikeTejas and Fighter to the list? Are all propagandist productions successful, or do only some of them work, and if so, why?

When trying to identify propaganda films, it isn’t enough to deploy the phrase “I know it when I see it”, used by an American judge in a case about whether a movie was obscene. Here’s a guide to understanding this variety of cinema, from what it represents to what it hopes to achieve.

This story was originally published in scroll.in. Read the full story here.