No sooner was Netflix’s long awaited horror miniseries Ghoul was released on August 24, 2018 the internet was divided into two groups of people. On one side were those who believed that the show was a leftist propaganda against BJP to create a negative image of the present government, and then there were those who found the supposed similarities apt. In the middle of all these accusations and counter accusations, the show being a tale of supernatural has been reduced if not forgotten.
Ghoul (SPOILERS AHEAD) tells the story of a dystopian India in future where besides terrorists, people allegedly guilty of being involved in anti-government activities, are taken as prisoners by the security forces for the purpose of reconditioning them. Most of these prisoners but belong to one particular minority community and this meticulous aspect of the show has led many to conclude that the filmmakers actually took a dig at BJP. They did so by making the story on the lines of how oppositions and dissidents have been trying to portray BJP and its Hindutva ideology for a long time.
The oppositions and a section of the society has been accusing the Modi government since the time it came to power that besides being anti-minority, it is also anti-intellectuals and anti-liberals.
Many a times, the members of the party referring others publicly with contrary thoughts as ‘anti-national’ has only damaged the party’s reputation and proven the oppositions and dissidents correct to some extent.
This has overtime made it easy for many to draw similarities between the government in the miniseries and the present regime.
The story of the series surrounds around Nida Rahim (Radhika Apte), a fresh recruit of National Protection Squad (NPS), a special force set up by the government to counter the ever rising problem of terrorism. Also, to keep a check on people who are ‘anti-government’.
Nida has strong belief in the government and dreams of building a better future by being loyal to the government unlike her father who despises it. But by the end of the show, the table gets turned on Nida as she discovers how evil the government is and what manslaughter it has been carrying out on the minorities in the name of countering terrorism. Nida, by the end of the story, realizes her mistake in trusting the government too much.
As soon as the show was released, people took to twitter to express their reviews, which mostly contained the comparisons of the government in the show and the present NDA government. One twitter user wrote:
— Jvalant Sampat (@jvalants) August 24, 2018
Here are a few others who found the plot of the show and the present trend in the country eerily similar:
Right wing can’t outrage upon watching #Ghoul because they don’t have the brainpower to decipher the simplest of anagrams
— Chandrachoor Bismarck (@DocDiarrhoea) August 24, 2018
20 minutes into #ghoul n Im already horrified by how much a future like this scares me! A brave attempt in calling out the disease of faux patriotism gripping India. Takes dig at the systemic hatred, militant hyper nationalism n portrays a dangerous future ahead of us. Must watch
— Swati Singh (@swatisingh1995) August 29, 2018
Others were quick to tag the show as a massive leftist propaganda to malign PM Modi, the BJP and the Indian Army. They twitted:
— ପ୍ରସନ୍ନ (@pras4net) August 27, 2018
#Ghoul Honestly speaking, it is a cleverly disguised propaganda against Indian armed forces.. hiding behind the supernatural story arc,this web series actual intention is to show Indian defence personals in bad light..
— विक्रमादित्य सिंह (@nawab_lucknow) August 25, 2018
#Ghoul is neither thriller or horror… It’s plain an simple a massive left-liberal propaganda show. This is the ‘nichod’ of all current narratives getting churned out of the anti-India, anti-Hindu brigade. Watch it to u’stand how high standard propaganda moves are played…
— Joga-Maya 😎 (@jogakhichudi) August 24, 2018
It may be mentioned that filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, who is also one of the producers of Ghoul, is often seen as someone who is very critical about BJP. He also landed in a row in 2016 when he went on a rant against PM Modi and asked him to apologize to the nation for his visit to Pakistan on the backdrop of Pakistani artists being banned from working in India.
It doesn’t take much head scratching to understand that the dystopian India run by a totalitarian government shown in the show is deliberately made to draw exaggerated parallels to the present regime and to take a dig at BJP. It completely aligns to the oppositions narrative of the party and the government.
In one particular scene, a Muslim man is stopped and his car is being searched. During the conversation, the cop asks the man if he is smuggling cow, which is a direct reference to cow vigilantism and an indirect attack on the Hindutva ideology.
Though Ghoul has been able to attract much attention for the wrong reasons, as a show, it didn’t live upto the hype. However, it is still a great work of art and definitely worth a watch.