When mass movie tropes inspired campaign videos

The hero flicking up the dhoti with one swift movement of the foot, twirling up his moustache and strolling majestically, in slow motion, amid fireworks and delivering punch dialogues are scenes designed for mass movies to evoke hysteric whistles in theatres.

Those tropes seem to have inspired an avalanche of election campaign videos capturing candidates doing all this and much more, some with considerable panache and others with perceptible discomfort. While well-crafted mass movies guarantee success, can the same be said about campaign videos?

Renji Panicker, who penned blockbuster political thrillers like Thalasthanam and Sthalathe Pradhana Payyans, finds nothing wrong in such campaign material using cutting-edge modern technology.

“It’s all about the people featured in such videos. If the person has an image in people’s minds that resonates with the videos, then they work, else they won’t. People don’t care about such things, and that’s why they are being used even in local body elections. Anyway, symbols of simple lifestyles have disappeared, and even candidates of parties claiming to represent the proletariat have access to better gadgets and facilities,” he observed.

Sebastian Paul, a political observer, though begs to differ, saying that optics do matter in an election campaign. “People may be appreciative of the glitz of movies, as it is about a larger-than-life world not always linked to reality. But when it comes to their representatives, voters still want to see them rooted to the ground with whom they can relate to. They may not take kindly to the aura being created through such videos,” he said and added that an election campaign was all about direct and personal communication between the candidate and the voter and cannot be replaced by videos on social media.

K. Ajitha, social activist, summarily disapproved of such macho videos, terming them a reflection of patriarchy pervading all fields of life, including politics. “But then, it is unsurprising, as a society rooted in patriarchy and views women merely as sex symbols cannot be expected to change overnight with an election,” she said.

So, how effective are the videos in serving the purpose of winning over the electorate?

Mable Davis, a clinical psychologist, said there was no guarantee that they would. “They may help draw instant attention, but their outcome can be varied. Some may be passive viewers, while some others may be positively influenced, but it can also have a negative fallout as well with some sections,” she said.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 2:43:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/when-mass-movie-tropes-inspired-campaign-videos/article34185715.ece

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