How Narendra Modi has tried to co-opt Bollywood to push his cult of personality

When campaigning for India’s election kicked off, prime minister Narendra Modi put out a clarion call to the biggest names in Bollywood: as “patriots”, they should support his re-election campaign.

For once, several answered the call. Ranveer Singh, one of Bollywood’s most bankable stars with nearly 22 million followers on Instagram, posted a beaming picture of himself embracing Mr Modi above a caption that read, simply, “joy”.

Five years ago Mr Modi led the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a stunning electoral victory and since then he has attempted to sustain a cult of personality that presents the 68-year-old as intertwined with the very fabric of India.

Even the half-coat worn by the nation’s…

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