Films with Modi ref­er­ences hit cen­sor wall

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Monika Rawal Kukreja and Sub­hash K Jha let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

A semi-fic­tional fea­ture film, Modi Ka Gaon, ex­plores and ex­tols Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s ru­ral devel­op­ment schemes. The ac­tor play­ing the prime min­is­ter has an un­canny re­sem­blance to Modi.

An­other Bollywood movie, the late ac­tor Om Puri’s last, has a char­ac­ter that ap­par­ently looks like Modi. Be­sides, Ramb­ha­j­jan Zind­abad is laced with beefy di­a­logues and an “over­dose” of pol­i­tics.

Both films — due for re­lease this Fe­bru­ary — face The PSLV-C37 rocket blasts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Cen­tre in Andhra’s Sri­harikota on Wed­nes­day. In­dia suc­cess­fully put 104 satellites from a sin­gle rocket into or­bit in the lat­est tri­umph for its space pro­gramme, smash­ing a record pre­vi­ously held by Rus­sia. ob­jec­tions from the cen­sor board.

The board has asked the mak­ers of Modi Ka Gaon to get a “no ob­jec­tion cer­tifi­cate” from the prime min­is­ter’s of­fice (PMO) as well as the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion.

That’s a first since no film has been ap­par­ently asked be­fore to get a pre-screen­ing ap­proval from the PMO.

“We sub­mit­ted an ap­pli­ca­tion to the PMO on Fe­bru­ary 8 and wait­ing for its re­ply. But it’s nearly im­pos­si­ble to get a clear­ance from the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion,” pro­ducer Suresh Jha said. The poll panel’s clear­ance is re­quired for the film’s re­lease be­cause of as­sem­bly elec­tions in five states, in­clud­ing Ut­tar Pradesh. Screen­ing a movie with a dead ringer of a char­ac­ter for Modi and a ti­tle that hints at the prime min­is­ter could vi­o­late the code of con­duct in place dur­ing polls. The cen­sors have asked the mak­ers of the low-bud­get movie to snip out the word “Pappu” from a char­ac­ter’s name, Jha said.

The film­mak­ers al­leged that cen­sor board chair­per­son Pahlaj Ni­ha­lani has put sev­eral con­di­tions with­out watch­ing the film.

Jha said they would ap­proach the high court, if re­quired.

Ni­ha­lani chal­lenged the moviemak­ers to prove if his ob­jec­tions weren’t law­ful.

“Any­body us­ing a celebrity or a public fig­ure’s name in a film is re­quired to pro­duce an NOC. Modi Ka Gaon has been cleared with­out any ma­jor cuts and they only need the PMO’s ap­proval.”

PHOTO: ISRO

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