Opposition parties say ‘propaganda’ film could influence upcoming elections
Filmmakers on Friday postponed the scheduled release of a Bollywood biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after it failed to get a censor’s certificate on time.
India’s main opposition Congress party had petitioned against the film’s release, calling it a propaganda movie that would influence the country’s national election that starts on April 11.
The film’s producer Sandip Ssingh announced on Twitter late on Thursday that the movie on Modi’s rise from humble origins would not come out Friday, promising an update “soon.” But the Central Board of Film Certification said that PM Narendra Modi had not yet been given release authorization.
The film “is yet to be certified as the process is not complete at this point,” Prasoon Joshi, the CBFC chairman, told the Press Trust of India news agency.
India’s election commission was expected to announce on Friday whether it would block the film’s release because of the election.
Critics have labeled the movie a blatant attempt to sway voters in the six-week election. Congress has said its release should wait until voting ends on May 19.
“This is no artistic venture. It is a political venture—and that is what we have told the Election Commission—and should not be allowed,” Kapil Sibal, a senior Congress leader said last week.
The first five episodes of a 10-part internet TV series on the prime minister’s life, Modi: A Common Man’s Journey, were released without controversy. Posters advertising the release of the last five episodes on an Indian web streaming service have been pasted across Mumbai.