×

Narendra Modi Wins New Mandate in Indian Election and Divides the Film Industry

India has returned the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance coalition to power for a second term, with a huge mandate. In doing so, it polarized the film industry.

The NDA won 351 seats out of a total of 542. The biggest democratic exercise in the world, more than 600 million Indians voted across six weeks. Results were announced Thursday. Coalition leader Bharatiya Janata Party won 303 seats, improving its 2014 tally of 267. The Indian National Congress marginally increased its tally but will have to again sit in opposition for the next five years.

Modi tweeted: “Together we grow. Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again!”

Meanwhile, the release of Omung Kumar’s biopic “PM Narendra Modi” that was stalled by the Election Commission of India until the election process was completed will now happen Friday. Series “Modi: Journey of a Common Man”, taken off air by the Commission during the elections, will resume streaming on the Eros Now platform.

Several film industry support measures by India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, including a rebate scheme for films shot in India and international co-productions, are now expected to be announced in the weeks to come. The measures were predicated upon Modi’s return to power.

The elections further emphasized the divide between the independent and the mainstream sectors of the film industry. Over a 100 independent filmmakers including Sanal Kumar Sasidharan (“Sexy Durga”), Anand Patwardhan (“Reason”) and Gurvinder Singh (“The Fourth Direction”) issued a statement urging people not to vote for the BJP, accusing the party of spreading ‘hate campaigns’ and banning or censoring cinema and books. On the other hand, the cream of A-list Bollywood talent, including Karan Johar, Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh, Ayushmann Khurrana and Ranbir Kapoor, flew to New Delhi and took selfies with Modi.

The biggest upset of the election was former actress and former BJP Minister of Information and Broadcasting, and current Minister for Textiles, Smriti Irani, defeating Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in his bastion Amethi, a seat he won in 2004, 2009 and 2014. Gandhi won from another constituency, Wayanad, by a record margin of more than 400,000 votes. Modi retained his Varanasi seat with an increased majority.

A galaxy of film stars contested the elections across the country and faced contrasting fortunes. Locket Chatterjee, Kirron Kher, Hema Malini and Sunny Deol won seats for the BJP. Shatrughan Sinha quit the BJP and joined the Congress, but could not retain his Patna Sahib seat.

Popular on Variety

More Politics

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Peter Coyote Riffs on 'Country Music' and How He Admires and Challenges Ken Burns

    Though an instantly recognizable face from films such as “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “A Walk to Remember” and “Erin Brockovich,” it is Peter Coyote’s voice — a coolly authoritative baritone with a Zen master’s holy roll — that has endeared him to documentary lovers and makers. Alrhough director-writer Alex Gibney used Coyote’s wisened narration for “Enron: [...]

  • Lowell Smokes Cafe Marijuana

    With Cannabis Lounges, On-Site Consumption, Marijuana-Infused Meals Go Legit

    Can this century’s Roaring ’20s repeat history but with pre-rolled joints instead of whiskey flasks and soccer moms as the new flappers? This month, West Hollywood will see the opening of the nation’s first at least quasi-legal cannabis consumption lounge, officially dubbed Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Café, located at 1211 N. La Brea between Fountain [...]

  • President Donald Trump waves as he

    Trump Holds Fundraiser in Hollywood's Backyard

    President Trump paid a visit to Los Angeles on Tuesday, as part of a West Coast fundraising swing expected to raise $15 million. Trump is set to appear at a dinner at developer Geoffrey Palmer’s house in Beverly Hills, where tickets range from $1,000 to $100,000 for VIPs. Though set in Hollywood’s backyard, the event [...]

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Burning Image Debate Ad

    ABC Runs Debate Ad Showing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Burning Image

    ABC aired an ad during Thursday’s Democratic debate that depicted a burning image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and likened her politics to those that caused the Cambodian genocide. New Faces GOP funded the ad, which features Elizabeth Heng, a Republican who lost a bid for a Fresno-area congressional seat last year. Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter, [...]

  • Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris.

    ABC News' Democratic Debate Lacked Energy and Purpose

    At long last, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren were on the same stage. And the result was a long and fairly dull evening. After two Democratic Party debate stages in which the field of candidates had been bifurcated — splitting, in both cases, the perceived frontrunners from the establishment and insurgent [...]

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden responds

    Protesters Interrupt Joe Biden During Democratic Debate

    Protesters interrupted presidential candidate Joe Biden during Thursday’s democratic debate. The chants came nearly two and a half hours in as moderator George Stephanopoulos asked the former vice president about any professional setbacks he’s faced and how he recovered from them. “We’re going to clear the protesters,” Stephanopoulos said as the chants began. “We’re sorry.” [...]

  • Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren,

    Dems Debate in Houston: Moderates Push Back on Medicare for All

    The third Democratic debate on Thursday was billed as the first showdown between the top contenders: Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Biden did challenge the liberal senators on health care early in the debate, which was broadcast on ABC. He asked repeatedly how they would pay for their multi-trillion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content