COAI Asks A Certificate Issued To Allow Movie To Be Shown Be Revoked And Its Release Suspended


New Delhi: Rajinikanth-starrer ‘2.0’ which shows a post-apocalyptic world in which cellphones turn against their users has ruffled the feathers of India’s telecom companies, who say the movie is defamatory and promotes unscientific attitudes against mobile phones.

In a letter to the country’s censor board and the government, The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), asked that a certificate issued to allow the movie to be shown be revoked and its release suspended. The film is scheduled to start appearing in cinemas on Thursday.

Pitched as one of the biggest Bollywood releases of the year, “2.0” is a multi-lingual film which hopes to rival the big Hollywood franchises increasingly finding favour with Indian audiences. Its lead is Tamil superstar Rajinikanth,often referred to as India’s biggest movie star.

The villain of the movie, a giant that is half-human and half-bird, has wings made out of cellphones, and at one point in the trailer, growls: “Every person who owns a cellphone is a murderer.”

Scenes from the trailer show cellphones shooting out of users’ hands and into the sky, rising up like a typhoon and engulfing everything in sight.

“The said depiction of mobile services and towers is false, based on no evidence and wholly fictional. It is grossly prejudicial to the complainant and its members,” said COAI’s letter dated Nov. 23. A copy of the letter was reviewed by Reuters.

A Censor Board official was not immediately available for comment.

An email sent to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting seeking comment did not get a response outside of business hours.

“There is always a danger that some segments of the population can use the movie to instigate law and order problems and initiate tower shutdowns,” COAI director general Rajan Mathews said.

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