On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu by likening him to Bhallaladeva, the antagonist in the film Baahubali.
Not one to be left behind, Naidu quickly retorted by describing Modi as Bijjaladeva, and Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy as Bhallaladeva while his son Nara Lokesh described Modi as Kalakeya — all evil characters from the epic film.
Commenting on politicians’ penchant to use cinematic references, Tollywood’s leading screenwriter Abburi Ravi, says that such references are used to draw people’s attention.
“We feel pleased when politicians use our dialogues and characters and realise the reach they have got. It definitely motivates us to do better, but there is no need to get carried away,” shares Abburi Ravi, who earlier penned political campaigns for both the TDP and the BJP.
Earlier this year, BJP leader Arun Jaitley used a pop culture reference and paraphrased Ian Fleming’s James Bond dialogue from the film Goldfinger while criticising Rahul Gandhi. “Once is happenstance, it happens. Twice is coincidence. But thrice is a conspiracy,” said Jaitley, who also mocked Manmohan Singh as Yes Minister, in a reference to a cult British sitcom which shows a most ineffective ruler in power who is incapable of making decisions.
Apparently, writer Sai Madhav Burra’s famous lines Samayam Ledu Mithrama (There’s no time my friend) from Balakrishna-starrer Gauthamiputra Sathakarni also became quite a rage. Several politicians were heard using the dialogue in the AP State Assembly to criticise the Central Government for dragging its feet on the Special Status Category issue.
However, Sai explains that a writer only feels happy if his dialogues or characters are used in a positive way.
“If our lines are used in a positive way, we feel glad. But if they are used to degrade someone, then naturally we feel bad,” states Sai Madhav. Interestingly, political strategist Phani Bhushan describes this concept as ‘leech marketing’, a theory of adopting an already successful thing to boost one’s own narrative. He adds that he encourages the practice of including film references in political speeches to get an instant connect with the people.
“We have recreated the Gully Boy rap tune (Apna Time Aayega) for a YSRCP candidate. Since the song is very popular and a hit among the youth, people can connect to it right away,” explains Phani, who has customised another hit song, Mere Gully Mein to communicate all the achievements of Nara Lokesh.
The cinematic reference bug seems to have bitten K.T. Rama Rao too. In one of his public speeches during the Telangana State elections, he said Simham single ga ne vasthundi (Lion will come alone), a famous dialogue from Rajinikanth’s film, Sivaji.
Meanwhile, political speech writer Sai Battina has used the famous dialogue from NTR-starrer Aravinda Sametha — Paaliche Ammalu Sir Manalni Palinchadam Telidha (A woman feeds milk; won’t she know how to manage).
“We used this dialogue for one of the woman contestants in A.P. to convince people that a woman can rule too. So far, the response has been encouraging,” explains Sai....