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NOC needed from Manmohan Singh for The Accidental Prime Minister, says Pahlaj Nihalani

Producer Ashoke Pandit says that they have the rights to the book which is being adapted into film, and they do not need permission from the former Indian Prime Minister Dr Singh.

Mayur Lookhar

It’s not often that a film’s announcement’s creates political controversy. The moment it was announced that Anupam Kher will be playing former Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in The Accidental Prime Minister, it has been raising brows in the political circles, especially the Congress party. Interestingly, Kher is a member of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Pahlaj Nihalani, though, had made it clear that the makers will have to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Dr Singh. Not just that, Nihalani also wants NOCs from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and all leaders who are part of the narrative.

“The makers of The Accidental Prime Minister — producer Sunil Bohra and Ashoke Pandit — would have to get an NOC (No Objection Certificate) from Manmohan Singhji, Sonia  Gandhi and all the other real-life politicians who are part of the narrative. This rule applies without fail. There are no  exceptions. And although my current tenure as the CBFC chairperson ends in January 2018 and this film will come up for censorship after that, I am sure the guidelines regarding biopics will remain unchanged,” Nihalani told The Quint, a digital news platform.

Questions are being raised over the motive of the film. Besides, have the producers Bohra and Pandit obtained the permission of Dr Singh?

We spoke to Pandit who refused to divulge much, but merely sad, “We have only announced the film. At the moment, I cannot be commenting anything."

When pressed further and asked whether the producers would be getting permission from the former Indian Prime Minister, Pandit said, “No, we don’t need to. We have obtained the rights to the book. There’s nothing more that I can comment on this now.”

The film is adapted from Sanjaya Baru’s book The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh. The book was a memoir by Indian policy analyst Baru, who was then PM Dr Singh's media advisor from May 2004 to August 2008.

In his book, Baru had alleged that despite being the PM, Dr Singh was not entirely in control of his cabinet, while the supreme power was wielded by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The film is slated to be released in 2018.