17 March 2019
Hyderabad: Filmmaker Ram Gopal Verma is planning to move court against the Central Board of Film Certification after it refused to accept his application to watch the movie 'Lakshmi's NTR' for approval citing the election model code of conduct (MCC).
The film based on Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao's second marriage with Lakshmi Parvathi and subsequent developments, was scheduled to be released on March 22.
The director on Sunday tweeted that he had received a letter from CBFC informing him that his application to view the film for certification cannot be processed till the first phase of elections on March 11 as the movie attracts provisions of the model code of conduct.
The CBFC pointed out that, as per the model code, parties and candidates will have to refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, and criticism of other parties or their workers, based on unverified allegations or distortion.
"The CBFC has no authority or power to postpone processing of the film on the ground of model code of conduct even before viewing the film," said Varma.
He said this amounts to blatant pre-censorship, which was a violation of the fundamental right of Freedom of Expression under Article 19 of the Constitution.
Last week, a TDP worker had urged the Election Commission to stop the release of "Lakshmi's NTR" on the ground that this could impact the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh.
The petitioner complained the film has portrayed TDP President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu in a negative light, which could influence voters, and demanded that the film's release be stopped till April 11.