New Delhi: The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Tuesday cleared the release of PM Narendra Modi with 11 cuts or modifications, hours after the Supreme Court refused to stop its release, stating it had not yet been certified and the challenge to it was a non-issue.
The film is now scheduled to release on 11 April, the day the first round of voting in the Lok Sabha elections takes place. It has received ‘U’ certification, meaning that it can be viewed by all.
An examining committee of the CBFC had viewed the film last week and recommended the cuts and modifications, and the filmmakers agreed to them Tuesday.
The film has run into controversy after opposition parties and common citizens had alleged that it is a propaganda film, which can influence voters if released in the middle of the elections.
The cuts or modifications suggested by the CBFC include removing shots and dialogues about Modi, as Gujarat chief minister, monitoring “anti-terrorist” operations from ground zero at the Akshardham temple, because of a lack of documentary proof.
It has also asked for dialogues like “Yahan ka har ek nagrik Hindu hai (every citizen is Hindu here)” to be changed.
We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.
Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.
The CBFC has also asked the makers of the film to mute apparently communal dialogues, such as ‘ek Pathan’ in the dialogue “Murti pooja karne wala ek pandit bhi hamaare liye ek Hindu hai aur but-parasti mein na maannewala ek Pathan bhi hamaare liye Hindu hai”. “Ek Pathan” has been replaced by “ek insaan”.
The CBFC has also sought the removal of scenes of tents being erected for Modi in a temple area, and that of Modi distributing auto-rickshaw keys to the women of Gujarat, as no proof was available to substantiate the claims of this scheme being implemented during his tenure as Gujarat CM.
Another scene it has asked to be cut is one where then PM Manmohan Singh is apparently ridiculed. The CBFC also wants the name of ‘Mr Manishankar’ removed from the script — the character is presumably based on Mani Shankar Aiyar, who speaks dialogues like “anpadh, gawaar” and “use toh angrezi bhi nahi aati”, for which again the producers have been able to provide no proof.
Vajpayee & Advani’s names voluntarily removed
ThePrint has learnt that the filmmakers had voluntarily decided to remove the names of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani and other political personalities from the film, since there was a lack of documentary evidence to support the relevance of their names being used in certain scenes.
The apex court had said Tuesday that it was the EC’s call to decide whether the film violated the model code of conduct.
Last month, the CBFC had written to the poll watchdog seeking advice on how to certify films of a political nature.
It had also suggested inviting the EC to the examining committee during the screening of such films to advise the CBFC on the modalities to be followed during the model code of conduct.
However, in a subsequent communication to the EC dated 25 March, accessed by ThePrint, the CBFC said it was examining films with a social or political theme on a case-to-case basis on the basis of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.
This report has been updated with additional information
News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.