‘Don’t screen Modi biopic’: EC orders producer under poll code of conduct
After complaints against the movies NTR Laxmi, PM Narendra Modi and Udyama Simham, the Election Commission said they “have potential to affect level playing field”.Updated: Apr 10, 2019 17:21 IST
The Election Commission on Wednesday told the producers of ‘PM Narendra Modi’, a biopic on the prime minister, not to release the film in view of the Lok Sabha elections. “You are directed not to exhibit the film till further orders,” the EC said. The biopic on PM Modi was scheduled to release tomorrow.
The poll panel’s order came hours after it banned screening of biopics on political leaders that could alter the level-playing field during elections. The commission also decided to set up a committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to look into complaints on this topic.
The EC said any film that subserves purpose of any political entity or individual should not be displayed in the electronic media including movie halls. The first phase of the Lok Sabha elections starts Thursday.
The biopic on PM Narendra Modi has been the most-talked about in this election season. But the election commission order made it clear that it had received complaints against others as well, particularly NTR Laxmi and Udyama Simham.
Watch: Narendra Modi biopic: ‘We’ve made a film with honesty,’ says Vivek Oberoi
The EC order comes just hours after the censor board cleared the biopic on PM Modi and the Supreme Court declined to get involved. The top court had told the petitioners that the Election Commission was the right forum to intervene if the movie was going to influence voters in violation of the model code of conduct.
Sandip Singh, the producer of the biopic, promptly thanked the judges for what he described as the “much deserved justice” and timed its release to coincide with the first phase of voting on Thursday.
The petition in the Supreme Court had sought deferment of the biopic’s release till the completion of the coming Lok Sabha polls, alleging that it was designed to “manipulate, influence and impress viewers and voters”.
Congress, the main opposition party, said the film was flattering of Modi and had slammed the timing of its release. It had lobbied for the movie - which tells PM Modi’s story journey from his days selling tea at a train station - be put on hold until voting in the elections ends on May 19.
The commission, in its order said it was vital that “the power of media is not used in such a manner which affects the general conduct” of the elections.