When politicians got it right!
It's inevitable, really. Films are a reflection of what we see around us, and we in India are pretty darned disillusioned by our politicians -- a bunch who almost always fail to inspire us.
Yet Bollywood owes them a lot, our directors often inspired by their political skullduggery.
Abhishek Bachchan plays a politician in the recently released Paa, and is quite unlike the stereotypical politician -- his character is quite modern and positive.
We look at the 10 most memorable politicians on screen.
Image: Abhishek Bachchan
Suhasini Mulay in Hu Tu Tu
Gulzar's 1999 film opens with the kidnapping of Tabu, daughter of Chief Minister Malti Barve, played by Suhasini Mulay.
We soon learn that Barve was a horribly power-obsessed woman right through her daughter's childhood, and blatantly carried on an affair with a prominent man of her own party, Sawantrao Gadre, played by Mohan Agashe.
Image: Suhasini Mulay
Om Puri in Yuva
Mani Ratnam's 2004 multi-narrative film sees Om Puri as Prosonjit Bhattacharya, a Kolkata based politician.
A none-too-subtle allusion to longstanding Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu, Puri is shown exploiting college youth leaders in a bid to create the goons and troublemakers of tomorrow. A sinister character indeed, despite Puri's bizarre accent.
Image: Om Puri
Sudhir Pandey in Main Azaad Hoon
Based loosely on Meet John Doe, this Tinnu Anand film is about a common man -- played by Amitabh Bachchan -- who inadvertently becomes the voice of the masses.
Yet while Bachchan's Azaad means well, he starts out as a state sponsored puppet, the vile CM Gulabchand Damodar (Pandey) setting him up for the fall.
Image: Sudhir Pandey
Amrish Puri in Nayak: The Real Hero
He thinks he's infallible. Shankar's film casts Puri as Balraj Chauhan, an arrogant chief minister. Grilled by a reporter Shivajirao, played by Anil Kapoor, the CM suggests that it's all well and good to make suggestions, but only the CM knows what the real job is like.
He challenges Shivajirao to be CM for a day, but the reporter calls his bluff and accepts. He's forced to give up the seat, and the journalist does more than his fair share of a day's work.
Image: Amrish Puri and Anil Kapoor
Amol Gupte in Kaminey
His real name is Sunil Shankar Bhope, but that's just what shows up on the party ticket.
Everyone calls him Bhope Bhau in Vishal Bhardwaj's thriler, and he plays a truly conniving rascal, one willing to marry his sister off to the highest bidder, bribe a kid and talk down to Mumbai-residents who aren't Maharashtrian.
And that's just the highlights.
Image: Amol Gupte
Sayaji Shinde in Sarkar Raj
In Ram Gopal Varma's sequel to his successful Sarkar, Shinde plays Karunesh Kaanga, Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister, a snivelling weed put in that position by local powerbroker Sarkar's (Amitabh Bachchan's) clout.
Resenting the fact that he wasn't made CM, Kaanga betrays Sarkar and enters into plot against Sarkar and his family.
Image: Sayaji Shinde
Raghuvaran in Shiva
In Ram Gopal Varma's breakout film, Raghuvaran plays Bhavani, a guy who provides muscle and support to the area's local politican.
He's the one who spots Nagarjuna's titular hero first, but earmarks him as a possible asset -- the convincingly evil actor shining in the role as he realises Shiva is anything but easy to tame.
Mohan Agashe in Rang De Basanti
Sure, they don't show much of the corrupt Defense Minister (played by Mohan Agashe) in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Rang De Basanti. But it is his assassination -- done in almost workaday fashion by Aamir Khan and his college buddies -- that makes the heroes into outlaws and vigilantes, driving the youth-awakening film towards its powerpacked finale.
Image: Mohan Agashe
Nana Patekar in Apaharan
Set against the 'kidnapping industry' in Bihar, Prakash Jha's partially hard-hitting film sees Patekar cast as corrupt MLA Tabrez Alam.
Taking misguided youth Ayay (Ajay Devgan) under his wing, Tabrez turned out to be not just a political fixer and rabble-rouser, but also a stone-cold killer who had shot his own nephew.
Image: Nana Patekar and Ajay Devgan
Naseer Shah in Omkara
Naseeruddin Shah probably has the smallest role among the principal cast in Vishal Bhardwaj's masterpiece, and yet it is a crucial one.
His Bhaisaab is a coldly influential local puppeteer who gets elected to parliament, an while his political machinations involving blackmail and coercion are bad enough.
The reason he's on this list is because of the visual similarity to the father of our nation.
Image: Naseer and Ajay Devgan