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Modi biopic's release blocked by India election commission ahead of voting

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image copyrightReuters
image captionThe biopic was scheduled to be released ahead of polling, which starts on Thursday

India's election commission has ruled that a film about PM Narendra Modi's life cannot be released ahead of elections due to begin on Thursday.

A trailer released last month elicited a furious reaction from the opposition.

Mr Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had said stopping its release would be against freedom of expression.

But the commission said the film, which contains fictional elements, posed a "serious threat" to ensuring a level playing field for all candidates.

It said such a film "may create an impression of truthfulness of content" and could therefore not be displayed on any electronic media or at the cinema.

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It also said that posters or publicity material for the film that depicted any of the candidates also had to be removed.

The decision comes despite India's censor board clearing the big budget movie for release with "four or five minor modifications".

The BJP said it was not involved, but lead actor Vivek Oberoi is a noted Modi supporter. At the launch of the a trailer last month he repeated a BJP election slogan - "Modi Hai to Mumkin Hai" (Modi makes it possible) - in response to a question.

The film with the title PM Narendra Modi chronicles his journey from selling tea on local trains as a child through his time in the right-wing Hindu RSS organisation and nearly 13 years as chief minister of western Gujarat state.

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