Better known for its romantic escapism, Bollywood is releasing a series of political satires during the election season that poke fun at corrupt lawmakers and religious tensions.
Featuring a goat, a ghost and a disputed dead body, three upcoming releases are aimed at making voters think before they cast their ballots -- although none refers directly to real-life candidates.
In family entertainer Bhoothnath Returns
, opening on Friday, megastar Amitabh Bachchan
plays a friendly ghost who takes on an evil and corrupt local politician at the polls.
The comedy horror film "gives a serious message of voting through its storyline", Bachchan told the Press Trust of India news agency.
"One vote can bring a sea-change in our country and I feel youth should participate in large numbers to bring that change," said the 71-year-old, who has a history of politically-themed movies.
Director Nitesh Tiwari told AFP the film is about the virtues of sacrifice, courage and patriotism.In pics: Bollywood campaigning for elections
"I hope children think this is how they want the future of their country to be, while adults should think that this is the difference they can make to the present. The theme is that we can all make a difference," Tiwari said.
Also opening next month is Yeh Hai Bakrapur (This is Bakrapur), a socio-political satire which explores the complex belief systems in rural India through the story of a pet goat who acquires celebrity status in his village and surroundings.
Director Janaki Vishwanathan said she consciously chose to release her film bang in the middle of the world's biggest elections.
"I believe that every decision we make in our life has a political angle -- not only in terms of government and ministers but also the politics in daily life," she told AFP.
"My film explores how the individual benefits from the larger politics and vice versa."
Dekh Tamasha Dekh (Watch the Spectacle), releasing on April 18, is based on a true story recounted by a former police commissioner to director Feroz Abbas Khan, in which a poor man is crushed under the weight of a politician's giant billboard.