New Delhi: The Election Commission Wednesday stopped the screening of a biopic on Prime Minster Narendra Modi during the elections, a day after the Censor Board cleared the film with 11 cuts.
The move also comes a day after the Supreme Court refused to stop the film’s release, calling it a “non-issue” at the time since the movie was yet to be certified.
In a letter addressed to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and the Central Board of Film Certification, the EC said that “any biopic material in the nature of biography/hagiography sub-serving the purpose 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 the MCC [model code of conduct]”.
The EC letter also refers to complaints regarding two other political movies — Lakshmi’s NTR and Udyama Simham, based on the lives of the Telugu Desam Party’s late founder N.T. Rama Rao and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, respectively — and the poll watchdog is now expected to constitute committees to examine the content of each of these films.
In the strongly-worded letter undersigned by the three election commissioners, the EC has said that in the wake of complaints regarding such content — even if it is certified by the appropriate authority — “a committee, duly constituted by the commission, shall examine the same and suggest appropriate action”.
“This committee shall be headed by a retired Justice of Hon’ble Supreme Court or retired Chief Justice of any Hon’ble High Court,” it adds.
The film has been at the centre of a controversy for weeks now after opposition parties and common citizens alleged that it is a propaganda film, which could influence voters if released in the middle of the elections.
This report has been updated with additional information