Director RGV aka Ram Gopal Varma has taken a U-turn on the controversy of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) declining to certify Lakshmi's NTR for release.
Lakshmi's NTR is a controversial biopic which chronicles how Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu backstabbed his late father-in-law Nandamuri Tarak Rama Rao for power. The film is set to hit the screens on March 22. Many people in the Telugu states were wondering whether the CBFC will clear it for release without any cuts/mutes.
Ram Gopal Varma has now alleged that the CBFC is delaying Lakshmi's NTR due to political pressure. The director tweeted on Sunday, "Censor board is illegally acting on outside pressure and that's why we are filing a case in court. CBFC in trying to delay the film for reasons of favouring someone is strangely relying on model code of conduct meant for political parties and contesting candidates #LakshmiNTR."
Ram Gopal Varma expressed his anguish over the CBFC playing the role of Election Commission (EC). He tweeted, "CBFC is assuming the jurisdiction of Election Commission which is not vested in it and is withholding certification of #LakshmiNTR and constitutionally it cannot partake the role of Election Commission."
The controversial filmmaker said that the EC itself has no authority to stall the release of any film. Ram Gopal Varma tweeted, "Election Commission derives its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution which empowers it to regulate the Election process the conduct of contesting candidates and Political parties and it has no jurisdiction on exhibition of films #LakshmiNTR."
Ram Gopal Varma had also denied that Lakshmi's NTR would favour any political party. The director tweated, "#LakshmiNTR By refusing to watch #LakshmisNTR by assuming what might be in the film, It is clear that CBFC is over reaching its authority in trying to favour someone."
Ram Gopal Varma added, "The CBFC has no authority to postpone watching the film on the ground of model code for conduct even before viewing, which amounts to a blatant violation of fundamental right of Freedom of Expression guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India."
The filmmakers also revealed that he would hold a press meet on Monday to explain the issue in detail. Ram Gopal Varma tweeted, "Me and my advocate Mr. Ponnavolu Sudhakar Reddy are going to address a press meet tmrw 18th mrng 10 AM at Prasad lab to reveal about CBFC ILLEGALLY TRYING TO STOP #LakshmisNTR ..We will be telling the details about how it will be dragged to court."
Minutes later, Ram Gopal Varma surprised everyone by saying that the matter has been solved. He announced, "There has been an unfortunate misunderstanding between our office and the CBFC which has now been cleared ..The CBFC is now doing the necessary action as per the laid down procedure ..Hence our press meet against the CBFC is cancelled ..Jai NTR #LakshmiNTR."
This sudden U-turn of Ram Gopal Varma has raised many eyebrows in the film industry. Some feel that it must be the publicity stunt of the director, who is known for his crazy promotional strategies.
Ram Gopal Varma had also released a letter with the headline – "I am filing a case on the Censor Board for illegally stopping Lakshmi's NTR." In this letter, the director had blasted the CBFC and revealed his decision to drag it to the court. Here is his detailed letter.