Release of PM Modi biopic deferred till further orders from EC

Videograb of the movie trailer

The release of a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been deferred till further orders from the Election Commission, which on April 10 issued a directive prohibiting display of any biopic material that sub-serves “the purposes of any political entity or individual connected to it”.

“The Election Commission of India today issued an order prohibiting display in electronic media including cinematograph of any biopic material in the nature of biography/hagiography sub-serving the purposes of any political entity or any individual entity connected to it,” said a statement.

The EC spokesperson said the order would also apply to Namo TV. The Commission had, on Tuesday, directed the Delhi Chief Electoral Officer to ensure that the channel’s political contents were pre-certified by the media certification and monitoring committee and seek an explanation if it had not been done earlier.

The ECI said that if in any movie, certified by the appropriate authority [censor board], there was such a violation, or a complaint was made in this regard, a committee set up by the Commission would examine it and suggest appropriate action. The committee will be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge or former Chief Justice of a High Court.

Observing that certain political contents related to either a candidate, political party or the achievement of the party in power (BJP), which were not in conformity with the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), were being displayed in the electronic media or intended to be displayed to the public with the purpose of furthering electoral gains, the Commission in its order said it had so far received complaint against NTR LaxmiPM Narendra Modi and Udyama Simham.

It has been alleged that these films either diminish or advance the electoral prospect of a candidate or a political party in the garb of creative freedom. The Commission has not yet confirmed if the complaints against Mr. Modi’s biopic and the other two movies have been referred to the committee for examination.

Exercising its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution, the EC has directed that any biopic material sub-serving the purposes of any political entity or any individual entity connected to it, which is intended to, or which has potential to disturb the level playing field during the elections, should not be displayed during the MCC period.

“Any poster or publicity material concerning any such certified content, which either depicts a candidate (including prospective) for the furtherance (or purported to further) of electoral prospect, directly or indirectly, shall not be put to display in electronic media in the area where MCC is in operation,” said the seven-page order.

In a separate letter to the producers of PM Narendra Modi, the Commission said in view of the admitted facts and material available on record, the film being a biopic on a political leader and prospective candidate to the Lok Sabha polls cannot be exhibited in view of the EC’s order.

“Therefore, in view of the above, you are hereby directed not to exhibit the film titled ‘PM Narendra Modi’ till further orders in terms of the aforesaid Order,” said the Commission.

(Courtesy: The Hindu)

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