Vivek Oberoi as Narendra Modi. (Source: Legend Global Studios)

Election 2019: Movie On Modi Gives Him Cult Status, Will Tilt Electoral Balance: Election Commission To Supreme Court 

The biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a hagiography—which treats the subject with undue reverence—and its public screening during polls will “tilt the electoral balance”, the Election Commission has told the Supreme Court while opposing the release of the movie during Lok Sabha elections.

In its 20-page report submitted to the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on the film titled ‘PM Narendra Modi’, the poll panel said 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.

The election commission 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 the viewers”.

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

The report was submitted after the Supreme Court had on April 15 directed the election commission to re-examine its earlier order and take an informed decision on banning pan-India the release of the biopic after watching the full movie.

The court had asked the poll panel to provide its report to the producer of the movie.

The election commission said in its report that the movie eulogises the character of Modi and its “synopsis provided with the script ends on an interesting sentence - ‘India is Modi and Modi is India’.”

This is reminiscent of the infamous statement by Congress leader D K Baruah, who had said ‘Indira is India and India is Indira’ in the 1970s.
Election Commission To Supreme Court

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Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for film producers who have challenged the election commission’s ban, had earlier told the top court that the poll panel has taken the decision after watching a two-minute promo, and not the entire movie.

Election Commission’s counsel Amit Sharma said that the entire movie was not available and a decision to ban the release was taken after watching the trailer.

The bench had then asked the poll panel to watch the full movie and then take an informed decision on whether its release should be banned or not.

The election commission on April 10 stalled the release of the film until the polls end, asserting that any biopic material with the potential to disturb the level-playing field during elections should not be displayed.

The commission, in a separate order, had also directed the producers not to exhibit the film till further orders. The film was earlier set to release on April 11.