Indian election commission bans Modi biopic until after polls

Electoral body says the Bollywood biopic has the potential to ‘disturb the level playing field during the elections’.

Hundreds of millions of Indians are preparing to vote in a national election on Thursday [Channi Anand/AP]

A biopic about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described by his opponents as propaganda has been barred from release during the national elections, a government body overseeing the polls said.

India’s election commission said on Wednesday any biopic “which has the potential to disturb the level playing field during the elections should not be displayed”.

Under Indian election rules, the publication of any content deemed as campaign material – including advertisements, films and even social media – requires the election commission’s prior approval.

Congress, the main opposition party, said the film flattered Modi and had slammed the timing of its cinematic release as hundreds of millions of Indians prepare to start voting in national elections on Thursday.

It had lobbied for the movie – which tells the story of the Hindu nationalist leader’s ascent to power from his days selling tea at a train station – to be withheld from cinemas until voting in the mega-elections ends on May 19.

The commission, in its statement outlining its decision, said it was vital that “the power of media is not used in such a manner which affects the general conduct” of the elections.

Source: News Agencies