• PM Narendra Modi’s praise for the film Article 370 is seen as a move to ramp up support from Hindu voters ahead of the general election
  • Critics have branded Aditya Dhar, Article 370’s producer who is known for nationalistic films, as ‘pro-government’ and ‘agenda-driven’

By Kaisar Andrabi

Bollywood political drama appearing to justify India’s Kashmir policy has stirred controversy, especially with Prime Minister Narendra Modi throwing unprecedented weight behind the film in a perceived bid to ramp up support from Hindu voters ahead of the general election.
Even before the release of the thriller Article 370, centred on the government’s removal of Kashmir’s autonomous status in 2019, Modi had endorsed the film and urged the public to catch it in theatres.

Critics warn the government is increasingly “endorsing cinema for political gain”, while some from Kashmir accuse authorities of “normalising” false narratives.

“I have heard that a film on Article 370 is going to be released this week … It is a good thing as it will help people in getting the correct information,” Modi told a crowd of supporters during a visit to Jammu in Kashmir on February 20, ahead of the show’s opening on February 23.

Article 370 was produced by Aditya Dhar, who is known for his nationalistic film projects. Dhar has won several prestigious accolades such as the National Film Award for Best Director and the Filmfare Award for Best Debut Director for Uri: The Surgical Strike, a film released in 2019 about India’s 2016 offensive in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in retaliation against terrorist attacks at a military camp in Uri.


This story was originally published in scmp.com. Read the full story here.