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India's birthday boy Narendra Modi gets another biopic

Tuesday September 17 2019

Modi with his mother

This handout photograph released by the Bharatiya Janata Party Gujarat state office on September 17, 2019 shows Indian PM Narendra Modi being blessed by his mother Heeraba on his birthday at her residence at Rysan village. PHOTO | BJP | AFP 

AFP
By AFP
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NEW DELHI,

Bollywood producers said Tuesday India's media-savvy Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to be the subject of what looks set to be another flattering film about his life.

Earlier this year India's election commission found a previous film so hagiographic that in April it ordered the release be delayed until after elections concluded on May 19.

The new movie, "Mann Bairagi: Jab Mai Mujhse Mila" (Recluse Heart: When I Met Myself), was announced by the production house of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, one of India's top filmmakers.

"I am sure it will connect and inspire our today's youth deeply," co-producer Mahaveer Jain told the Hindustan Times daily.

PROPAGANDA

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The film delayed earlier this year by the election commission, "PM Narendra Modi", was panned by most critics with one reviewer saying it should be used to "study how cinema can be used for propaganda".

A similar fate befell an online series, "Modi: Journey of a Common Man", with the election commission ordering that streaming be stopped until voting ended.

Modi also recounted his life story from tea seller's son to premier in a programme with British television adventurer Bear Grylls aired on the Discovery Channel last month.

The announcement of the new movie, scheduled for winter release, coincided with Modi's 69th birthday which was widely covered in India media -- including his lunch with his nonagenarian mother.

US TOUR

A bakery in Modi's home state Gujarat on Monday said that it would celebrate by baking a 700-feet (213-metre) long cake weighing a supposed seven tonnes (15,430 pounds).

Modi is to be joined by US President Donald Trump when he attends a September 22 rally of Indian-Americans in Houston dubbed "Howdy, Modi!", the White House said Sunday.

While in the United States, Modi is also due to receive an award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the progress India is making in improving sanitation.

However British-Asian actors Jameela Jamil and Riz Ahmed had reportedly dropped out of the event in protest at India's move last month to strip the region of Kashmir of its autonomy.

Last week a group of Asian Americans working in philanthropy published an open letter saying the award would "signal the international community's willingness to overlook, and remain silent, in the face of the Indian government's brazen violation of human rights principles".