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Main Atal Hoon: 6 films about Indian politicians to watch online

Politics and Indian cinema have long shared a close relationship. Some films have managed to capture the complexities of an Indian politician in their biopics. Here are some gems to watch on OTT

Main Atal Hoon: 6 films about Indian politicians to watch online

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Last Updated: 10.38 PM, Jan 16, 2024


Politics and Indian cinema have long shared a close relationship, for better or for worse. While certain biopics on Indian celebrities over the years have been accused of being partisan or propaganda tools, a few have managed to capture the complexities of an Indian politician. With the film Main Atal Hoon, the biopic on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, set to hit theatres this weekend on the 19th, we have created a list of must-watch films based around or inspired by Indian politicians, both past and present.


Sarkar - Prime Video

The 2005 film Sarkar may not be an official biopic, but it is touted as inspired by the founders of the Shiv Sena – the Thackeray family. Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan plays the lead role in the film, while the actor’s son, Abhishek, plays the role of his on-screen son as well in Sarkar. The political crime thriller is also a homage to Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo’s Godfather trilogy. The Ram Gopal Varma film received universal acclaim for its gripping narrative and stunning performances by its lead actors.  A sequel to the film, titled Sarkar Raj was released in 2008, which also garnered immense success both commercially and critically.

An Insignificant Man - YouTube

The sitting Delhi Chief Minister Aravind Kejriwal has had a mercurial and storied political career in his tenure as the leader of the Aam Aadmi Party. The documentary An Insignificant Man puts Kejriwal’s rise under the microscope, focusing primarily on the period between 2012 and 2013, leading up to the Delhi elections. Despite scrutiny from India’s film certification board, the film explores controversial subjects, including an examination of corruption in Indian politics. Directed by Khushboo Ranka, the documentary garnered significant praise for its thought-provoking narrative and how it tackled sensitive and volatile topics.

Yatra - Prime Video

Malayalam screen legend Mammootty essays the role of the late Andhra Pradesh Chief minister, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy in the Telugu film, Yatra. The biopic tells the story of Reddy as he embarks on a walking tour to meet with potential voters and earn goodwill. The film is helmed by Mahi V Ragha and also stars Suhasini Maniratnam and Jagapathy Babu in other prominent roles.

Left Right Left - SunNXT

Released in 2013, Left Right Left offers a nuanced, gritty, and grounded take on the political landscape of Kerala, with a focus primarily on the Communist Party. Upon its release, the film sparked controversy as its narrative was allegedly loosely inspired by the current Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan. Directed by Arun, the film stars Murali Gopi as Roy Joseph, Indrajith Sukumaran as P K Jayan, and Hareesh Peradi as Kaitheri Sahadevan. Additionally, it boasts a diverse supporting cast, including Remya Nambeshan, Anusree, Lena, Baiju, Jagadish, Mammukoya, and Saiju Kurup.

Iruvar - Prime Video

One of the most acclaimed titles on this list is the 1997 film Iruvar, directed by Mani Ratnam. The plot is inspired by the lives of former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu – M. G. Ramachandran, J. Jayalalithaa, and M. Karunanidhi. Mohanlal portrays the fictionalised MGR, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan takes on the role of the fictionalised Jayalalithaa, and Prakash Raj essays the character inspired by Karunanidhi. The film, widely regarded as Mani Ratnam's magnum opus, has received numerous national and international awards, featuring a notable supporting cast that includes Gautami, Revathi, Tabu, and Nassar.

Aandhi - YouTube

The final film on this list is the 1975 political thriller Aandhi. The film stars Sanjeev Kumar and Suchitra Sen in lead roles and is directed by Gulzar. Released during the Emergency era in India, the film is said to have been inspired by the lives of former Indian deputy Finance Minister and independence activist Tarkeshwari Sinha and the then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. The film was initially banned after 26 weeks after its release and was later re-released after Indira Gandhi lost the elections in 1977.  Despite controversy surrounding the film, it was nominated for seven Filmfare Awards,  winning two.

Well that's all for this episode, until the next one it's your host Nikhil signing out.

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Written by Ryan Gomez

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