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“Modi Kaka Ka Gaon”, a film inspired by Modi, releasing soon

"Modi Kaka Ka Gaon", a film inspired by Modi, releasing soon. IANS

Mumbai, Dec 26, 2017: Nearly 11 months after it was denied a censor certificate on various grounds, Hindi feature film “Modi Ka Gaon” – now renamed as “Modi Kaka Ka Gaon” – loosely inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development agenda, will finally hit the screens all over India on Friday, the filmmakers said.

“In the first phase, the Hindi film will be released for around 600 screens in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, east Punjab and Uttarakhand. The rest of the country will be covered soon thereafter,” film producer Suresh K. Jha told IANS.

Promos, posters and banners went up on prominent roads and several cinema halls and multiplexes in Mumbai city and suburbs, besides other cities in the country this week, heralding “Modi Kaka Ka Gaon”.

The development comes close on the heels of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) giving the censor certificate to the movie in late November. It had been refused for eight months since last February.

Jha reiterated that the film is “not a biopic on Modi”, but the story has been inspired by the Prime Minister’s vision and agenda for the country’s progress.

“I am keen that the work of the great leader should be highlighted since some people are making false propaganda and harming the country’s interests,” Jha said.

In February this year, then CBFC Chairman Pahlaj Nihalani had declined to certify the film on various gorunds and set a precondition of a No-Objection Certificate from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Election Commission of India (ECI) for clearing it.

Jha wrote to the PMO and ECI, but they did not respond, after which he moved the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) and won the case there in October.

In its October 12 order, the FCAT said that there are no statutory basis or justifiable requirements for getting NOC from PMO and ECI.

“The requirement to obtain NOC from the PMO, since either references are made to the PM or a character is portrayed as the PM, have no legal basis or foundation,” the FCAT ruled.

“The statutory responsibility for certification of films is cast upon the CBFC Board under the Cinematograph Act. (It) cannot be delegated to different statutory authorities, departments or individuals,” the order added.

It noted Jha’s contentions that though the film has been inspired by Modi’s zeal, development plans and strategies, the scenes in the film are imaginary and not reproductions of any actual events.

“This was a major victory for us. All the objectionable points raised by the CBFC were crushed by the FCAT and we decided to finally release the film this month-end,” Jha said.

Nihalani’s reluctance stemmed from the ongoing assembly elections in some states at that time (early 2017), the resemblance of the main protagonist to Modi, references to Pakistan’s Uri attacks, news-speeches related to the PM and a character named ‘Pappu’ Bihari featuring in the film.

The FCAT also considered Jha’s plea that ‘Pappu’ is a baby’s pet/nick name in many parts of India and later it supercedes the child’s given name. Also, in the past, there have been instances like Bollywood song “Pappu Can’t Dance Saala” and an advertisement ‘Pappu Pass Ho Gaya’.

“Although it is not a biopic on Modi, throughout our film, we represent the working of our PM, his dream of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Smart India and Digital India,” Jha explained.

On the Modi look-alike, he said when the film is about Modi’s development agenda and vision of transforming India, how can it be portrayed with somebody else who does not resemble him.

However, in the changed avatar, “Modi Kaka Ka Gaon”, he has deleted controversial references like ‘Pappu’ and direct references to the Uri attack and the PM in sync with the CBFC’s requirements.

Mumbai businessman Vikas Mahante enacts the main character of Modi. Television actors Chandramani M. and Zeba A. portray the other important roles in the 135-minute-long film, directed by Tushar A. Goel.

It was shot last year extensively on locales in Mumbai, Patna and Darbhanga, detailing the Prime Minister’s aim of transforming all rural and urban centres into Smart Villages and Smart Cities.

With seven songs featuring, the music for the film is directed by Manojanand Choudhary. (IANS)

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Come April, government will be more comfortable in Rajya Sabha

Of the 100 BJP-allies MPs, 24 are retiring. Which means, the government will be left with 76 MPs

Parliament of India is a source of interest for many people because of various reasons. Wikimedia Commons
Parliament of India is a source of interest for many people because of various reasons. Wikimedia Commons
  • In April, the opposition may lose its edge over BJP in Rajya Sabha
  • NDA led by Modi has faced many embarrassments in Rajya Sabha in past few years
  • This is expected to change soon

Come April, the opposition in the Rajya Sabha may lose its edge in the numbers game and the power to stall any government bill, as the ruling BJP-led NDA coalition is set to catch up with its rivals, though a clear majority will elude them for a while more.

BJP to soon get more comfortable in  Rajya Sabha. Wikimedia commons
BJP to soon get more comfortable in Rajya Sabha. Wikimedia Commons

As 58 MPs, including three Nominated and one Independent, are set to retire in April, the Rajya Sabha math is going to change. It is set to favour the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and the trend may continue in the elections to the Upper House later too with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) having solid majorities in a number of state assemblies, especially the ones it won after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

With this, while the Congress-led opposition’s numbers will come down to around 115 from the present 123, the numbers of the BJP, its allies and sympathisers together would climb to around 109 from the present 100-odd members.

And the gap, once wide enough to let the opposition invariably have its say, will keep narrowing further in the coming months.

Of the 55 retiring members (excluding those Nominated), 30 belong to the opposition camp while 24 belong to the BJP and allies. Of them, a large number of NDA candidates are set to return while the opposition will lose a chunk of its members.

As things stand now, the Congress-led opposition has 123 MPs (including 54 of the Congress) in a house of 233 elected members (apart from 12 Nominated), while the NDA has 83 members (including 58 of BJP) plus four Independents who support the BJP (these include MPs Rajeev Chandrashekhar, Subhash Chandra, Sanjay Dattatraya Kakade and Amar Singh).

Rajya Sabha or the Upper House can often be a game changer while passing of the bills is in process.
Rajya Sabha or the Upper House can often be a game changer while passing of the bills is in process.

Also, for all practical purposes, the All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), that has 13 members in the Rajya Sabha, is also with the NDA. This means the NDA’s effective strength in the upper house of Parliament is 100.

The gap was wider till just a few months ago. This meant that during any battle between the government and the opposition in the Upper House over bills and major issues, it was the opposition that invariably had its way. The recent example was the triple talaq legislation that the opposition stalled in the upper house, demanding that it be referred to a Select Committee.

For over less than four years, the Narendra Modi government had faced quite a few embarrassments in the Rajya Sabha thanks to the majority of the opposition, forcing it often to take the money bill route to avoid a clash in the house. Under the Constitution, a money bill needs to be passed only in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha cannot stall it.

Also Read: For Modi, Road To 2019 Will Be Steeper

However, after April, the NDA will be in a far better position.

Of the 100 BJP-allies MPs, 24 are retiring. Which means, the government will be left with 76 MPs (including AIADMK). But at least 30 from the NDA are set to get re-elected. So the number will rise to 106. Add three members that the government would nominate to the upper house and the final NDA tally will roughly be 109 MPs.

Further, there are fence-sitters such as the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the YSR Congress, which are not virulently against the BJP and would not oppose the government unless for very compelling reasons.

Now, for the Congress and the rest of the opposition, they are set to lose 30 MPs (including one Independent, A.V. Swamy) through retirement and would be left with around 93 members. The Opposition may win roughly 22 seats, which means that its final tally after April is likely to be around 115 members.

Government can now expect some smooth sailing in the Rajya Sabha, coming this April.
Government can now expect some smooth sailing in the Rajya Sabha, coming this April.

The gap has clearly narrowed and the government may not be at the mercy of the opposition during crucial votes and can have its way in the Rajya Sabha if it musters its numbers by deftly wooing “floater” MPs.

The three newly-elected Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members may remain equidistant from both the BJP and the Congress, though the party is friendly with some of the major opposition parties like the Trinamool Congress.

Also Read: BJP MP Seeks Amendment to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill

In an interesting development recently, the AAP actively participated in the opposition’s walkout and the day-long boycott of the Rajya Sabha over long intra-day adjournments of the Upper House by Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu.

The AAP, which was not welcome at any opposition meetings earlier, particularly those held in Parliament House, was invited to speak at a joint opposition media interaction on the day. But nobody can be sure as to how long this bonding would last.

Partywise tally of those retiring in April-May from the opposition’s side include 13 from the Congress, six from the Samajwadi Party, three of the Trinamool Congress, two each of the Nationalist Congress Party and Biju Janata Dal and one each of the CPI-M, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.

NDA has to face many embarrassments in past few years in Rajya Sabha. Wikimedia Commons
NDA has to face many embarrassments in past few years in Rajya Sabha. Wikimedia Commons

From the ruling side, 17 MPs of the BJP, three of the Janata Dal United, one of the Shiv Sena and two of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) are retiring.

In terms of state-wise vacancies to be created in April, the highest number is from Uttar Prdaesh (9), followed by Maharashtra (6), Madhya Pradesh (5), Bihar (5), Gujarat (4), Karnataka (4), West Bengal (4), Rajasthan (3), Odisha (3), Andhra Pradesh (3), Telangana (2), Uttarakhand (1), Himachal Pradesh (1) and Chhattisgarh (1). IANS