Bollywood biopic on Indian PM runs into trouble days before elections
Opposition parties claim the film’s release would unfairly advantage Narendra Modi’s party as it seeks re-election.
The planned release of a Bollywood biopic on Indian prime minister Narendra Modi days before the start of elections has run into trouble, with a court challenge pending and the censor board yet to clear its opening in cinemas.
Opposition parties are protesting that the film’s release would unfairly advantage Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalist party as it seeks re-election.
With utmost gratitude, we reveal the second poster of our movie 'PM Narendra Modi', please do shower your immense love and blessings as always. PM Narendra Modi, releasing on the 5th of April. #jaihind #PMNarendraModi@vivekoberoi @omungkumar@anandpandit63 pic.twitter.com/obOE7DZEOd— Sandip Ssingh (@sandip_Ssingh) March 19, 2019
The Supreme Court set a Monday hearing date for a Congress party petition demanding the movie’s release be deferred until voting concludes in mid-May.
The Hindi movie could not be screened as planned on Friday because the censor board has not certified it for release.
“This is to confirm, our film ‘PM Narendra Modi’ is not releasing on 5th April. Will update soon,” film producer Sandip Ssingh tweeted.
This is to confirm, our film 'PM Narendra Modi' is not releasing on 5th April. Will update soon.— Sandip Ssingh (@sandip_Ssingh) April 4, 2019
Vivek Oberoi, who plays the title role, said the Congress party was trying to block the movie’s release because it was scared of Mr Modi’s popularity.
Oberoi, 42, said in an interview with New Delhi Television that screening the movie would not violate the code of conduct for national elections.
India’s autonomous Election Commission is expected to rule next week on separate complaints filed by two opposition parties protesting over the launch of a NaMo (Narendra Modi) television channel.
The Congress party and the Aam Admi Party said the channel was started by Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and it violates the code of conduct that bars political parties from starting such channels after the announcement of the election schedule.
The channel started broadcasting Mr Modi’s election campaign and a compilation of speeches highlighting his government’s achievements three weeks after the voting schedule was announced by the commission on March 10.
The voting for India’s elections will be staggered over seven days, beginning on April 11 and concluding on May 19. Counting will begin on May 23.