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3 Movies Modi MUST see!

Last updated on: May 06, 2014 18:08 IST

Image: Narendra Modi in Mumbai. Behind him is the famed Marine Drive.
Photographs: Sahil Salvi Mahesh Bhatt. Exclusively for

'A nation of 125 crore people cannot be run by a single narrative of majority-ism. You need the bandwidth to accommodate the thousands of stories which exist here' 

As Narendra Modi prepares to take over as India's new Prime Minister, we reproduce an interview with filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who recommended three films NaMo must watch. Exclusive to

"A good film," says Mahesh Bhatt in his inimitable, grandiose style, "is like a fire. It burns one and all."

Mahesh BhattAs he readies for the release of Hansal Mehta's Citylights, a movie he dubs a "favourite child", he says, "The apathy of the haves needs to be jolted. This is a cinema of rage. It concerns your backyard and the people you don't look at. If you push them beyond a point, something in store for you that you will regret."

Movies, he believes, can change people's mindsets.

Bhatt has some recommendations for his fellow Gujarati, and India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a man whose ideology he opposes and believes is the worst possible thing that can happen to India.

He recommends that Modi, who has watched only three films in the last 10 years, learn some lessons from the movies.

He could begin, says Bhatt, with these three...

Mahesh Bhatt spoke to Savera R Someshwar/

What movies, dear reader, do you think Narendra Modi should watch and why? Share your recommendations on the message board below.


Mother India

Image: Sunil Dutt, Nargis Dutt and Rajendra Kumar in Mother India
Mahesh Bhatt. Exclusively for

Mr Modi must see Mother India, an iconic movie made by a Gujarati.

Mother India is the defining narrative of popular mainstream Hindi cinema. And Mehboob Khan is a Gujarati from Navsari. I want his statue there. After all, he was the first man who took India to the Oscars.

If Satyajit Ray is the icon of the so-called art cinema, then Mehboob Khan is the father of mainstream popular cinema,

Mother India is an enduring classic made by a Gujarati who, according to the world, was an uneducated, illiterate man. He was, as they say, an angoota chaap, but look at the kind of film he made!

Mr Modi needs to look at the narrative of Mother India where the mother tells her son that if he breaks the defining values of society, if he kidnaps the daughter of her enemy from the wedding mandap, she will kill him. And she does.

She kills her beloved son to save the honour of the daughter of a tyrant who has tormented her all her life. Those are the values that are enshrined in Mother India.

Buy The Dialogue Of Mother India.



Image: Ben Kingsley as Mahatma Gandhi
Mahesh Bhatt. Exclusively for

Mr Modi must see Richard Attenborough's Gandhi,

Rulers don't like storytellers because storytellers make them sit down and listen and they are not used to listening.

You can't argue with a storyteller because a storyteller debunks all the demonising you do about the 'other' (caste/community/ region).

Fascist ideology talks about rebirth through elimination. Eliminate these people and India will become a land of milk and honey. They sell myths.

If Mr Narendra Modi aspires to become the prime minister of this diverse country, he needs to delink himself from that Hindutva ideology and see more such human movies.

Buy The Words of Gandhi. By: Richard Attenborough.



Image: A movie poster of Zakhm.
Mahesh Bhatt, Exclusively for

Mr Modi should certainly see Zakhm, which is my autobiographical narrative about the right wing politics he is still wedded to.

Unless he delinks himself from the umbilical cord that connects him to the Hindutva ideology, I see nothing but doom and gloom for India.

A nation of 125 crore people cannot be run by a single narrative of majority-ism. You need the bandwidth to accommodate the thousands of stories which exist here.

We assume plurality guarantees harmony. But if there is plurality, conflict is inevitable. When conflict is inevitable, the State has to be a neutral umpire, a free referee.

Mr Modi has to demonstrate this to people like me, who are very, very suspicious of his past because of the personal experiences we have had with him of intolerance to free speech, to right to livelihood.

Fanaa was banned in his state because he had a problem with Aamir Khan.

My film, Tum Mile, was pulled out from the cinema hall because I was opposed to his politics. He chose to punish me by using the alleged connection between my son, Rahul Bhatt, and David Headley.

He turned a blind eye in that great state of his, which he says is a model for the rest of the world, where you can't even ensure a free run of a film.

Why? Because he does not like dissent.

Zakhm was made 1998 when the NDA was in power and his predecessor, Mr Lal Krishna Advani, was the Union home minister. Mr Advani gave me a tough time during the release of the film, making me run from pillar to post.

They also went to the other extreme of giving it a National Award for the best film on national integration.

If he can see movies like this, I think he will know why we Indians feel the way we do about his politics and about him.