No ban on The Accidental Prime Minister in Madhya Pradesh, Congress issues clarification

The ban of The Accidental Prime Minister in Madhya Pradesh is the most recent case of film ban politics that also targeted Padmaavat and Kedarnath earlier this year.

FP Staff December 28, 2018 15:04:33 IST
No ban on The Accidental Prime Minister in Madhya Pradesh, Congress issues clarification

The Madhya Pradesh government issued a clarification on Friday that the film The Accidental Prime Minister is not banned in the state.

It had been reported that the Congress-ruled state had banned the Manmohan Singh biopic. However, according to the Madhya Pradesh government, no such ban exists on the film.

The reports were based on a Congress leader aggressively declaring that the film would not be allowed in Madhya Pradesh, which recently witnessed a regime change after 15 years with the Congress taking over from the BJP. Kamal Nath took over as chief minister of the new Congress government last week.

"I have written a letter to the director, we strongly object to the name and what was shown in the trailer. We want to see the film before it is released or else, we won't allow its screening in the state," Syed Zafar of the Madhya Pradesh Congress, had said, according to NDTV.

"Manmohan Singh is an intellectual leader. Using words like "accidental" prime minister is very wrong and we will not allow such a film," he warned.

Congress leader Randeep Surjewala has also denied the ban, terming it propaganda by BJP, the ruling party at the Centre.

No ban on The Accidental Prime Minister in Madhya Pradesh Congress issues clarification

The Accidental Prime Minister's Madhya Pradesh ban seems to follow a trend of political agendas manoeuvring ban on films in certain states. Images from Facebook

Many in Congress believe that the film portrays the UPA-led government in dim light. According to reports, Congress has issued a gag order to its party members, asking them not to comment on the trailer and release of The Accidental Prime Minister

The film, which features Anupam Kher as former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is adapted from the book written by Singh's media advisor Sanjaya Baru.

Since the launch of The Accidental Prime Minister trailer, the film has led to controversies, with the Maharashtra State Youth Congress and Punjabi Cultural Heritage Board sending notices to the producers of the film to hold private screenings for them before the release of the film. There has been considerable backlash against the film as well with many stating that the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) is using the feature to malign Congress ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Kher recently spoke up on the issue as well, saying if patriotic films could release on Independence Day and Republic Day, he does not understand why a political film could not be released in the middle of elections. He added that since Rahul Gandhi recently endorsed freedom of speech, he should reprimand his party members for their 'goondagardi'.

Most recently, Kedarnath screenings were prohibited in Uttarakhand, ruled by BJP, following objections from several Hindu groups and party leaders. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had formed a committee headed by state tourism minister Satpal Maharaj to decide on the fate of the film and ultimately came to the conclusion of banning it. The primary concerns were that many felt that the film promoted 'love jihad' and hurt Hindu sentiments.

The beginning of 2018 saw an uproar at a much larger scale when Padmaavat was banned in several states after protests from Raput Karni Sena. The period drama was banned in four states — Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. All the states were ruled by the BJP government. The bans were implemented to 'maintain law and order' after Karni Sena threatened violence against the screening of the film that allegedly depicted their idol Rani Padmini in bad light. The Rajput outfit, in fact, demanded a nation-wide ban on Padmaavat, claiming that the film distorted the historical legacy of the Rajputs.

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