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EC Bans Modi Biopic: Will These Political Films and Shows Be Affected As Well?

The ban order might affect the movie 'The Tashkent Files', based on the death of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, and a web series titled 'Modi' which released recently.


Updated:April 10, 2019, 5:39 PM IST
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EC Bans Modi Biopic: Will These Political Films and Shows Be Affected As Well?
Poster of The Tashkent Files.

The Election Commission on Wednesday announced a ban on the release of all political biopics during election season, stalling the film on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s life. The Vivek Oberoi-starrer is not the only politically-connected title that was slated for an onscreen release. The Tashkent Files, based on the death of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, and a web series titled Modi which released recently, might also be affected by the EC order.

Vivek Agnihotri-directed The Tashkent Files, which has already landed in trouble because of a legal notice sent by Shastri's grandson and Congress member Vibhakar Shastri, has an April 12 release date. The film revolves around the mysterious death of Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966, soon after the signing of the Tashkent Agreement between India and Pakistan to end their 1965 war.

Vibhakar Shastri's notice alleges that the film is an "attempt to create unwarranted and unnecessary controversy" in the election season. Which prompts the question whether this film around a political event will get a smooth release or not.

Vivek Agnihotri insists that the EC ban does not apply to his film, because The Tashkent Files is not a biopic. "It's a whodunit, a murder mystery. My film is about the citizen's right to the truth," he said to CNN-News18.

Another film based on the life of a political figure that came under fire recently was Ram Gopal Varma's Lakshmi's NTR. The film is based on a part of the life of the legendary actor-turned-politician NT Rama Rao. The movie cleared all hurdles, except a release in Andhra Pradesh. The AP High Court held it back until April 3 for the judge to watch the movie amidst lawyers and then deliver the final verdict.

On April 3, the AP High Court posted the screening to April 9, which meant that the movie hasn't been released "officially" in Andhra Pradesh, the state in which NTR was a chief minister for seven years over three terms. Given the new order from EC that was released today, Lakshmi's NTR's AP release also becomes uncertain.

The web series on Modi, made by Umesh Shukla and Ashish Wagh, is streaming already on Eros Now. The 10-part series has actor Mahesh Thakur playing the lead. Umesh says that there have been no complaints about it so far.

"The content of my series is not such that there will be complaints to the EC unnecessarily. It's a normal human's story. Maybe it has to do with the medium of Internet. Maybe the code of conduct is different... I don't know the rules, but if there was something (a complaint), we would have heard about it," Shukla told IANS.

Five episodes out of 10 went live on April 3, just over a week before the first phase of polling begins. It tells the story of Modi's life from when he was all of 12, and traverses through his youth to becoming the Prime Minister.

Defending the timing of the show's release, Shukla said, "It was not planned this way. It is a coincidence. I was working on it since 11 to 12 months. It could have come out one month earlier as well, but it got delayed owing to some technical glitches. And it doesn't make a difference to me if people say it is coming at this time, because even when I came up with Oh My God!, people said it was too controversial (as it was a film about a case against God and was releasing around the Ganpati festival). But I don't give too much attention to all this."

"All I am saying that it's a back story of the PM. The web series is my tribute to him. My web series is not about politics. It is more about a character and his journey," he added.

(With inputs from IANS)

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