The Delhi High Court on Monday disposed off a plea seeking a ban on the trailer of the movie The Accidental Prime Minister, saying it should be refiled as a public suit. Justice Vibhu Bakhru observed that the petitioner, Pooja Mahajan, a Delhi-based fashion designer, has no personal interest in the matter and should refile it as PIL. The plea, filed by Mahajan through her counsel Arun Maitri, said the trailer violated Section 416 of the Indian Penal Code as an impersonation of a living character or living persons is not permissible in law. The film is based on the book of the same name by Sanjaya Baru, the former media advisor of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Actors Anupam Kher and Akshaye Khanna play Dr. Manmohan Singh and Baru in the film, slated to release on Friday. Advocate Maitri said that the film's producers have not taken any consent from Manmohan Singh, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi to perform their characters or perform their political life or to dress up in the same way as they had been doing in their normal life or copy their voice in any manner.
As per Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) guidelines on films based on real-life characters, a 'no objection certificate (NOC)' is required, but for the trailer, no such NOC was obtained, the petitioner said. In the plea, Mahajan has requested the court to issue a direction to the Centre, Google, YouTube, and CBFC to take steps to stop the exhibition and display of the trailer. The film has been mired in controversy since the time its trailer was released. However, veteran actor Anupam who plays the title role said in an interview that the film is a historical step in filmmaking.
Talking about the film that is based on the book he said, “The Accidental Prime Minister is based on a book, written by Dr. Singh’s media advisor, who had closely seen everything that happened at the PMO. Once people see the film, they will have an informed opinion. It’s very easy to watch a trailer and jump to conclusions, threaten people and make splashy, controversial remarks.” He further added, “The director of my film wants to change the grammar of cinema and perhaps, he’s made the first move. If we no longer show flowers kissing on screen, why should we hesitate to call people by their names in real-life dramas? Why shouldn’t the political arena be explored as a subject for a film, especially when it impacts our life deeply? And I’m sorry, but there is no good or bad timing to bring out a political biopic. It can very well release in the pre-election phase. People have to stop targeting films and start seeing them as instruments of change and records of our times.”
The Accidental Prime Minister is directed by Vijay Ratnakar Gutte and written by Mayank Tewari. The film is slated to release on January 11.
(With Inputs from IANS)