The Election Commission’s stand on deferring the release of PM Narendra Modi, the biopic starring Vivek Oberoi, till after the Lok Sabha elections remains unchanged after senior EC officials watched the film, The Indian Express has learnt.
A special screening of the biopic was organised by the producers for a committee of senior EC officials last week, after the poll panel was tasked by the Supreme Court to watch the film and submit a report. The committee of senior EC officers and the Delhi Chief Electoral Officer had also interacted with the producers after watching the film.
The EC is learnt to have deliberated on the inputs of the committee and decided that its view to delay the biopic’s release remains valid.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing a petition filed by the four producers against the EC’s order directing them to not release the film. On April 10, the poll panel had invoked its extraordinary powers under Article 324 of the Constitution to impose a ban on the public screening of “any biopic material in the nature of biography/hagiography”, which could serve the interest of a political party or candidate, while the Model Code of Conduct is in force.
The EC had noted in its order that political content like biopics pose a “serious threat to the level playing field as it may create an impression of truthfulness of such content being shown through television/cinema/internet-based entertainment programmes/social media”.
The order had come a day after the Supreme Court dismissed a petition seeking a stay on the film’s release, and left it to the EC to decide whether it “will tilt the electoral balance in favour of any political party”.
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The EC’s order stalled the release of ‘PM Narendra Modi’ and stopped the screening of two other biopics — ‘Lakshmi’s NTR’ on TDP founder N T Rama Rao and ‘Udyama Simham’ on Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s struggle for the separate state of Telangana.
On April 12, the makers of the biopic of Prime Minster Narendra Modi approached the apex court against the EC’s order on the ground that it violates their freedom of speech and expression, and freedom to carry on business.
On April 15, the apex court directed the EC to watch the biopic and report back to it. The EC was asked to submit the report by April 22, which it did Monday. The Supreme Court will consider the matter on April 26.