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Posted at: Apr 26, 2019, 11:34 AM; last updated: Apr 27, 2019, 6:56 AM (IST)

SC refuses to interfere with EC order banning release of PM biopic till May 19

SC refuses to interfere with EC order banning release of PM biopic till May 19

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 26

A biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi can’t hit cinema halls until the last phase of polling was over on May 19 as the Supreme Court on Friday refused to interfere with the Election Commission’s decision not to allow its release during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi refused to entertain the biopic’s producers’ plea against the poll panel’s order.

The film producers’ counsel said the EC’s decision went against the certificate given to the film by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

But the Bench wasn’t convinced. “The issue is whether the movie can be exhibited at this time (during the polls). The Election Commission has taken a decision. We are not inclined to entertain this,” it said.

Earlier, the Commission had told the court that the biopic “produces a political environment where an individual acquired cult status” and its public screening during the period when model code of conduct is in operation would favour a particular political party.

In its report submitted to the top court, the EC said the film was a “hagiography”, which treated the subject with undue reverence, and its public screening during poll campaign would “tilt the electoral balance”.

Directed by Omung Kumar, the Vivek Oberoi-starrer Modi biopic is about Modi’s rise to power from humble beginnings. It has been in the news for the last several months.

The top court had on April 9 disposed of Congress leader Aman Panwar’s plea to stay the release of the biopic, saying the poll panel was the right forum to go to for relief and that it was “premature” to entertain the plea as the biopic was yet be certified by CBFC.

After the EC refused to grant permission to release the film, the producers came to the court contending that the film was banned by poll panel without watching it only on the basis of its trailer.

The top court then asked the EC to watch it and send a report to it.

In its report to the court, the EC said, “There are several scenes depicting a major opposition party as corrupt and showing them in poor light. Their leaders have been depicted in such a manner that their identification is clear and obvious to viewers.”

It said that the construct of the movie was “unabashedly uni-dimensional”, which put an individual on a higher pedestal through use of specific symbols, slogans and scenes.

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