The Election Commission has served a notice to the makers of the biopic 'PM Narendra Modi', for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct enforced ahead of general elections next month. The officials of the poll panel on Monday said they were awaiting a reply from the filmmakers on multiple notices, which were served on Wednesday, according to news agency PTI.
Any political advertisements on electronic or social media have to be approved by officials in advance by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee, said Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh.
"If any pre-certified political or surrogate advertisement is circulated, it is violation of model code of conduct. Whosever has done it is given an opportunity to explain their stand," an official said, quoted by PTI.
The official also suggested the Election Commission could form guidelines for political films released during elections.
Notices have been issued to the production house and the music company behind the film, as well as two newspapers for publishing advertisements for the film, according to East Delhi's Returning Officer K Mahesh.
Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh said the concerned parties have been given time till March 30 to respond, reported PTI.
The Congress had also approached the Election Commission, asking the poll panel to stop the release of the biopic, claiming it was a politically-motivated film and not an "artistic venture".
A Congress delegation of senior party leaders including Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, RPN Singh and Randeep Singh Surjewala had approached the poll panel.
"The purpose of this film is only political -- to get some extra mileage in the elections. We believe, it is not just a corrupt practice, but the very launch of the film is motivated," Mr Sibal said.
"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. It does not allow for a level playing field," he added.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah also launched an attack on the film, calling it "worse than the earlier 'accident' of a movie", a veiled dig on the recently released biopic, 'The Accidental Prime Minister.'
"From what one has seen of the trailer of the movie it looks terrible, worse than the earlier 'accident' of a movie," Mr Abdullah said on Twitter. He also said the Congress "should ensure it's shown in every possible cinema."
From what one has seen of the trailer of the movie it looks terrible, worse than the earlier 'accident' of a movie. Rather than ban it the Congress should ensure it's shown in every possible cinema. https://t.co/TK0D2d3qKa- Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) March 25, 2019
One of the biopic's producers, Sandeep Ssingh, has also been embroiled in a previous controversy, over giving credit to veteran lyricists Javed Akhtar and Sameer.
Both had expressed shock on social media for having their names included in the movie's credits. The lyricists said they had not written any songs for the biopic.
However, Mr Ssingh said credit was given to the lyricists as the movie used two songs penned by the lyricists from two previous movies.
Actor Shabana Azmi on Sunday said in a tweet, that the film's makers had "deliberate intentions" to "mislead public into believing that Javed Akhtar has written the songs" for the film.
'PM Narendra Modi', which was supposed to release on April 12, had its release pushed ahead to April 5. The film stars Vivek Anand Oberoi essaying the titular role in the film and has a cast of veteran actors, including Boman Irani, Manoj Joshi, Zarina Wahab and Prashant Narayanan.
(With Inputs From PTI)