The Election Commission Wednesday stalled the release of the biopic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi just a day before India goes to polls. The movie was slated to release tomorrow.
Announcing the stall, the commission 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 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 Model Code of Conduct (MCC),” the poll panel said.
In its release, the commission said:
“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 there are displayed with the purpose of furtherance of electoral gains during the period of MCC.”
The directions from the EC have come only when the honourable Supreme Court passed the onus on to the Commission, after a petition was filed by Aman Panwar, to verify whether this movie violated the model code of conduct or not. The EC thereby responded, stalling the release of the film, citing the petition filed in SC by Panwar.
Subsequently, the commission has also formed a committee which will examine the said violation and suggest an appropriate action, in case of any violation or receipt of complaints in this regard. The Committee shall be headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court or a retired Justice of any high court and the same has been communicated to the I&B Ministry as well as Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). All political electronic content (films included) will be vetted henceforth for Model Code violation.
The CBFC had issued a ‘U’ Certificate to the movie today where actor Vivek Oberoi plays the titular role of Narendra Modi in the film. Oberoi had been actively and aggressively promoting this movie across all mediums, be it television, print and social media.
Vivek had also slammed Bollywood as he did not receive any support from his colleagues on his upcoming biopic. Further, he even went on to accuse the film industry of ‘double standards’ for posting selfies with PM Modi and not helping him out with the release of a biopic on the same man.
He said :
‘It’s easy to post selfies with Prime Minister and stuff like that. As an industry, we need to stand together. Around 600 artistes right now are saying that BJP shouldn’t come back; let’s all get together. I respect that, they have all rights to do that.”
The EC panel also added that besides PM Narendra Modi movie, it has so far received complaints about cinemas namely ‘NTR Laxmi’ and ‘Udyama Simham’ as well.
When a journalist asked Oberoi whether he was a Modi bhakt, the actor said,
“I appreciate the devotion of devotees and the criticism of critics.” Was the timing of the film’s release strategic? Oberoi reiterated, “Modi hai to mumkin hai.”