2024 Pro-Hindutva Films Were Funded By BJP-Linked People, Promoted by BJP Netas

A number of pro-Hindutva, pro-BJP films have released in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

9 min read
Hindi Female

The build-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections has seen the release of a number of Hindi films that seem to promote a clear pro-Hindutva or pro-BJP narrative: 'Swatantra Veer Savarkar', 'JNU: Jahangir National University', 'Article 370', 'Mai Atal Hoon', to name a few.

This list also includes a bunch of lesser known movies that have come out or are scheduled to come out, such as 'Bengal 1947', 'Razakar' and 'Accident or Conspiracy: Godhra'.

A number of pro-Hindutva, pro-BJP films have released in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Vinod Bhanushali's 'Main Atal Hoon' released on 19 January 2024 and was based on the life of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

(Photo: X)

The political narrative that these films end up building, is no doubt important. But it is only one part of the story. The Quint dived deeper into how these films were made and promoted and we found that:

  1. Many of these films are made by people with clear connections to the BJP and, in one case, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

  2. BJP leaders and office bearers, and in some cases BJP-led state governments, are actively involved in promoting these films.

We will establish both these aspects in this story.


Films Made by People With Clear Links to BJP or RSS

With the 2024 Lok Sabha Polls scheduled in April and May, we found that several films released since January 2021 were directed or produced by individuals with links to the BJP — and in one case, even the RSS. Some of these films are yet to release but their teasers have already amassed massive viewership.

JNU: Jahangir National University

The film is being pitched as a critique of Left wing student politics and the title is a not-so-subtle reference to Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The film has been produced by Mahakaal Movies Private Limited. One of the directors in this company is Vishnu Tantia. He happens to be a business associate of Gopal Goyal better known as Gopal Kanda, a Haryana politician in alliance with the BJP in the state.

Tantia and Goyal are directors in a number of companies together, such as MDLR Airlines, MDLR Steel and MDLR Infrastructure. In several other companies, Tantia is a director along with members of Gopal Kanda's family.

A number of pro-Hindutva, pro-BJP films have released in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

'JNU: Jahangir National University', follows a student union election at 'India's most popular and prestigious' university. The fight is between saffron clad Right-wing AIVP which stands for India's culture and integrity and the Left parties' 'anti-national' agenda.

(Photo: X)

The film's release date has reportedly been postponed.

Swatantra Veer Savarkar

This biopic on hardline Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar has been directed by Randeep Hooda, who also plays the titular role. It had a theatrical release on 22 March 2024.

One of the producers of the film is Anand Pandit, who by his own admission has been a member of the BJP for over 30 years. According to this report by Dainik Bhaskar, he was the treasurer of the Maharashtra BJP.

A number of pro-Hindutva, pro-BJP films have released in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

A poster of the Savarkar biopic produced by Anand Pandit. 

Pandit was also the producer of PM Narendra Modi's biopic, starring Vivek Oberoi. Incidentally, that film was also released in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Pandit is known to be a close aide of PM Modi and was one of his point persons in the film industry during the latter's days as Gujarat CM.

In 2013, Pandit was being probed by the Enforcement Directorate regarding a FEMA violation case. Nothing seems to have happened in that case.

His name also figured in the database of offshore account holders released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Pandit, whose full name is Anand Kamalnayan Pandit, is listed as having accounts in British Virgin Islands since 2008.


Mai Atal Hoon

One of the individuals who produced the PM Modi and Savarkar biopics along with Pandit is Sandeep Singh. He also happens to be one of the producers of 'Mai Atal Hoon', the recent biopic on former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee starring Pankaj Tripathi.

The Opposition has in the past accused Singh of having links with the BJP.

In 2020, when Singh was facing drug charges, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi had accused the producer of making 53 calls to the BJP while the then Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had demanded a CBI probe into his links with the BJP.


The Telugu film, that has been dubbed into Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, is also being promoted as 'Razakar: The Silent Genocide of Hyderabad'.

It has been produced by Gudur Narayana Reddy under Samarveer Creations. Reddy is part of the BJP's executive committee in Telangana and he was the party's candidate from the Bhongir Assembly constituency in the 2023 Assembly elections. He could secure only 9200 votes and lost his deposit.

A number of pro-Hindutva, pro-BJP films have released in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

(Gudur Narayana Reddy, in red jacket, with BJP president JP Nadda and senior leader Bandi Sanjay Kumar)


Accident or Conspiracy: Godhra

There are two films on the 2002 Godhra train carnage that are scheduled for release in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. While 'The Sabarmati Report' starring Vikrant Massey is being produced by Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Films, there is another film that didn't get as much attention - 'Accident or Conspiracy: Godhra' produced by Om Trinetra Productions and Artverse studios. It stars Ranvir Shorey, Manoj Joshi and Hitu Kanodia. Kanodia, a Gujarati actor, has also been a BJP MLA from Idar constituency in Gujarat from 2017 to 2022. His father Naresh Kanodia has also been a BJP MLA while uncle Mahesh Kanodia has been a BJP MP.

Manoj Joshi, who has also acted in several Hindi and Gujarati movies, has also made appearances in BJP's campaign ads.

MK Shivaaksh, the director of the film, was commissioned by the Uttar Pradesh government to make a propaganda song for CM Yogi Adityanath in the run-up to the 2022 Assembly elections.

BJ Purohit, the producer of the Godhra film, is also known to be a BJP supporter.

A number of pro-Hindutva, pro-BJP films have released in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

MK Shivaaksh, the director of 'Accident or Conspiracy: Godhra' was commissioned by the Uttar Pradesh government to make a propaganda song for CM Yogi Adityanath in the run-up to the 2022 Assembly elections.

(Photo: X)


Bengal 1947

The film focuses on the violence that took place in Bengal during the Partition. Though the violence took place on both sides, the film seems to be focusing mainly on Muslim atrocities against Hindus. It released on 29 March, 2024.

The film has been directed by Akashaditya Lama and produced by COMFED Productions.

Lama happens to be the joint secretary of an organisation called the Bharatiya Chitra Sadhna (BCS). Formed in 2016, the outfit is affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and is leading the Sangh's outreach in the film community.

Responding to The Quint, Lama said that his film has been appreciated by people of all communities.

According to their website, the "Bharatiya Chitra Sadhana was created in 2016 to encourage films that promote ancient and modern Bharatiya values and philosophy".

The chairman of the outfit is BK Kuthiala, known to be a prominent Hindutva ideologue. In 2019, he was made chairman of the Haryana State Higher Education Council by the BJP-led government in the state.

The BCS held a grand film festival in Haryana's Panchkula from 23-25 February, 2024. The festival was inaugurated by Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and Union Minister Anurag Thakur presided over the award function. It witnessed the participation of several Bollywood filmmakers, especially those who have recently made allegedly pro-Hindutva films such as Vivek Agnihotri (director of 'Kashmir Files'), Vipul Shah (producer of 'The Kerala Story' and 'Bastar: The Naxal Story') and Sudipto Sen (director of 'The Kerala Story' and 'Bastar: The Naxal Story').

A number of pro-Hindutva, pro-BJP films have released in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

A poster of the BCS film festival in February 2024. 

(Bharatiya Chitra Sadhana)

The BCS advisory board includes prominent personalities like Subhash Ghai, Hema Malini, Madhur Bhandarkar, Vivek Agnihotri and Priyadarshan.

So far we have established how people linked to the BJP and, in one case an RSS affiliate, are behind some of the pro-Hindutva films released in the run-up to the elections and how a body like the BCS is systematically bringing together the makers of such films.

Now we will show how people linked to the BJP and RSS are also actively involved in promoting these movies.


Tax Exemptions, Free Screenings, Social Media Promotions: A Promotion Strategy Backed by BJP

On 13 March, the Rashtriya Kala Manch, an affiliate of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), organised a screening of director Sudipto Sen’s 'Bastar: The Naxal Story' at the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s convention centre.

The event was attended by Sen and actor Adah Sharma. The two had previously come together for 'The Kerala Story', a film which released last year and ran into legal troubles over allegedly platforming and promoting Islamophobia.

Bastar’s screening at JNU was heavily criticised by the Left groups for ‘defaming’ JNU students. “Films like 'Bastar' openly call for JNU students to be shot at on the roads. Who will take responsibility if someone actually shoots a student?” Dhananjay, the newly elected JNU Student Union President, later told The Quint in an interview.

In the film’s teaser, Sharma, who plays a police officer, claims that the ‘killing of 76 Indian security personnel by naxalites was celebrated by JNU students and that the prestigious university celebrates the killings of Indian army jawans’. She then goes on say that ‘she will shoot such Leftists on the streets in broad daylight’ irrespective of the consequences.

The ABVP, on 18 March, also organised a screening of the film on the campus of the Hyderabad Central University.

These events are not isolated. Through free screenings, tax relaxations, and promotions on social media, BJP and its affiliates including ABVP and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) are promoting several such films in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

Take for example, 'Article 370', a film based on eponymous provision in the constitution of India which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir and which was abrogated by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government in 2019.

It was one of the first major decisions taken by the Modi government in its second consecutive term in power.

The film, which conveniently mixes facts with fiction, was promoted by several politicians including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who urged people to go and watch it in theatres.

While addressing a public rally at Maulana Azad Stadium in the heart of Jammu, the Prime Minister said:

“I have heard that perhaps a film on Article 370 is going to be released this week. I do not know what the film is all about but yesterday I heard on TV that a film is coming on Article 370. Good, it will be useful for people to get correct information.”
PM Narendra Modi on the film Article 370

The film was made tax free in two BJP governed states — Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

Several party leaders attended the screenings of the film held in different states. In some cases, the screening of the film and campaigning for the elections went hand-in-hand, as can be seen from an event attended by Kota Shrinivas Poojari, BJP candidate from Karnataka's Udupi-Chikamagalur.

Even in 2019, BJP functionaries had held special screenings of the film 'Uri: The Surgical Strike'. Interestingly, 'Uri' was also released in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections that year. The two films also happen to have the same producer, Aditya Dhar.

Coming back to 2024, 'Main Atal Hoon' was screened in the Maharashtra state Assembly.

Maharashtra BJP leader Niranjan Vasant Davkhare also organised a free screening of the film.

A number of pro-Hindutva, pro-BJP films have released in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Another such screening was organised in Tripura by Rata Saha, brother of Chief Minister Manik Saha.

Another film heavily promoted by BJP functionaries is 'Razakar'. While urging people in Telangana to watch the film, Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar urged Chief Minister Revanth Reddy to except it from entertainment tax.

Several other BJP leaders organised screenings of the film.

“For decades Indian cinema was controlled by the Left. It is only fair that the truth is finally coming out,” a Yuva Morcha functionary who was present at several such screenings told The Quint on condition of anonymity.

“We don’t need these films to win elections. These are just for people to know real history of our country,” he added while dismissing any foul play in the timing of the release of these films.


The film 'Bengal 1947' is being promoted more by people associated with the RSS than the BJP. RSS ideologue Ratan Sharda and RSS Delhi media in-charge Rajiv Tuli both posted on X promoting the film.

The filmmakers have consistently denied that the timing of the release of these films has anything to do with the Lok Sabha elections.

While it is clear that many of these films are being made by people associated with the BJP or RSS and the same films are being actively being promoted by people in organisational or even government posts, the support of this powerful ecosystem hasn't guaranteed commercial success.

Out of the films discussed above, only 'Article 370' has been a hit at the box office. 'Bastar' and 'Mai Atal Hoon' both failed badly while 'Savarkar' was an average performer.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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