The release of a biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which was scheduled to be released nationwide on Friday, has been put off indefinitely, its producer Sandip Singh said on Thursday.
“This is to confirm, our film PM Narendra Modi is not releasing on 5th April. Will update soon,” Mr. Singh tweeted, amid a PTI report that stated that the biopic was yet to get certification from the Central Board of Film Certification.
Asked whether a final call had been taken on its release, the Election Commission of India (ECI) said it had received the responses of the producers and the BJP, and they were being examined.
The Opposition parties had appealed to the ECI to delay the release until after the Lok Sabha election.
“It is a very serious matter of directly and shamelessly circumventing the law by doing direct advertising in contravention of the Representation of the People Act, the Cable TV Networks Act and Election Commission circulars,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told The Hindu .
Left petition to ECI
A delegation, led by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Nilotpal Basu and CPI national secretary D. Raja, also petitioned the ECI. “The delegation pointed out that there are well-established precedents for withholding the release of such propaganda materials during the pendency of the election,” said a joint statement from the Left parties.
The delegation said: “From the widespread sneak reviews of the film published in the media, it is clear that it is a propaganda film. We have umpteen numbers of precedents from the Election Commission’s responses to the exhibition of films involving candidates.”
“Reportedly, the film is going to be released on April 12 in 23 Indian languages. The elections are to start from April 11 and will continue till May 19. Shri. Narendra Modi has been announced as a candidate in these elections. Given the precedents, we urge the Commission to stop the exhibition of the film till the elections are over and further no publicity regarding the film should be put out in the media as this would clearly constitute a violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC),” the memorandum said.