The authorities in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district on Friday seized three cinema halls which screened the Telugu movie “Lakshmi’s NTR” in violation of the orders of the Election Commission of India.
The three theatres screened the film on May 1. Though the election authorities did not give permission to screen the film, the managements of the three theatres ignored the orders and exhibited the movie in the morning show. When local revenue officials came to know of this, they let off the theatres with a warning.
However, the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Gopal Krishna Dwivedi, took a serious note of this. He told the media on Friday that he recommended the EC to take action against the Kadapa district Joint Collector who failed to stop the screening of the film.
Following the CEO’s statement, Joint Collector Koteswar Rao ordered the concerned officials to seize the three theatres. Officials said these theatres can’t screen any movie.
The director of “Lakshmi’s NTR” and controversial filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma had planned to release the movie in Andhra Pradesh on May 1, but the CEO had made it clear that the orders restricting the film’s exhibition were still in force.
Varma was asked to adhere to the EC’s April 10 order restricting the exhibition of the film till further orders.
“Lakshmi’s NTR”, which was released in Telangana last month, deals with Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao’s second marriage with Lakshmi Parvathi and the subsequent events, including the revolt by his son-in-law N. Chandrababu Naidu, and NTR’s death.
The Election Commission had refused to allow the screening of the movie in Andhra Pradesh after some TDP functionaries approached it. They alleged that the film depicted Chief Minister and TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu in negative light, which could impact the party’s poll prospects.
Elections to the 175-member Andhra Pradesh Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state were held on April 11.