The biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi – which was set to hit the screens on April 11 next – has been stalled by the Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday.
The biopic was all set to hit the screens during the election period – the first phase of the seven-phase elections in India will start on April 11 next.
Announcing the stall, the Commission, in a press release, said, “Any biopic material in the nature of biography/hagiography sub-serving the purposes of any political entity or any individual entity connected to it, which is intended to, or which has the potential to disturb the level playing field during the elections, should not be displayed in electronic media including cinematograph during the operation of model code of conduct (MCC).”
“Though the display materials claim to be a part of creative content, it is contended that these have propensity and potentiality to affect the level playing field which is not in consonance with the provisions of the model code of conduct,” the poll panel said.
In case of any violation or receipt of complaints in this regard, the EC has formed a committee which will examine the said violation and suggest an appropriate action.
The committee shall be headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court or a retired Justice of any high court.
The EC release further stated that it had “noticed certain political contents which are not in conformity with the model code of conduct are being displayed or intended to be displayed to the public through electronic media, which relates to either candidate or political party or a specific achievement of the party in power and are displayed with the purpose of furtherance of electoral gains during the period of model code of conduct.”
The panel also added that it has so far received complaints about the following flicks – NTR Laxmi, PM Narendra Modi and Udyama Simham.
The EC has written to the I&B ministry as well as the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) that a committee headed by retired judge of Supreme Court or Chief Justice of high court will henceforth vet all political electronic content (films included) for model code violation.
The EC move has come a day after the Supreme Court refused to stay the release of the Modi biopic. The apex court put the ball in the EC court saying that the latter is the appropriate forum to decide whether the production tilts electoral balance in favour of any party.
The Bombay High Court had also disposed of a plea seeking deferment of the biopic’s release, saying the EC will deal with the issue.
The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court had earlier rejected a plea seeking a ban on the release of the Modi biopic.
Earlier in the day, the biopic was issued a ‘U’ certificate by the CBFC. Titled PM Narendra Modi, Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi plays the lead role of Narendra Modi in the film.