NEW DELHI: The country’s most expensive film at nearly Rs 540 crore, is receiving opposition from one of the most unexpected quarters — telecom tower companies and cellphone makers.
The two have petitioned the censor board to revoke the certification of the Rajinikanth-Akshay Kumar mega starter, and suspend its exhibition as it spreads “misinformation” about radiation impact from mobile towers and smartphones.
“We have requested the censor board to revoke the certification already granted, including for the teaser, trailer and other promotional video and Tamil language version of the film with immediate effect,” Rajan Mathews, Director-General of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said. “We have requested that the exhibition of the movie be suspended in the meantime.”
COAI has written to the Central Board of Film Certification that the film depicts mobiles and towers in a defamatory manner. “The movie including its teasers, trailers and other promotional videos depict mobile phones and mobile towers in a defamatory manner.”
COAI alleged that the promotional videos are based on the theme that electromagnetic field (EMF) emissions — dubbed as harmful radiation by a section of activists — from mobile phones and towers are dangerous to living creatures and the environment, including birds and human beings. It said that such a depiction “will create unfounded fear and mass paranoia by spreading misinformation about the adverse impact of mobile towers and mobile phones.”
It said the storyline is “defamatory to COAI and its members, endangers public order, presents anti-scientific attitudes, (and) constitutes offences, including under various sections of the IPC.”
COAI further said that the disputed depiction is in violation of the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952. “It is against the public interest as it constitutes offences under section 268 (public nuisance), section 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) and section 499 (defamation) of the IPC and stands to prejudice the ongoing proceedings before the Supreme Court over whether or not mobile towers have any harmful effects.”
COAI requested the censor board to examine the film with due regard to its concerns and seeking a preview of the film to give it “a fair opportunity to raise our concerns fully and adequately.”