Zila Gorakhpur: Rumoured Biopic on UP CM Shelved After Poster Row

The first look poster of ‘Zila Gorakhpur’ was released on Saturday, 28 July.

3 min read

The first look poster of ‘Zila Gorakhpur’ was released on Saturday, 28 July. The film is rumoured to be a biopic on the present Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and former five-time MP from Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath.

The poster shows a man clad in a saffron robe with his back to the camera, watching the rising sun. But what is really intriguing about the poster is the gun clasped in the hands of the protagonist.

The poster created a controversy immediately after it was released and eventually Director Vinod Tiwari put out a press release announcing that he is shelving the project.


Very few details of the movie were made available to the public – the names of the actors were also unknown.

The bold first look seemed to be a deliberate attempt to stir up conversation about the movie, which sought to offer an insight into “saffron terror” and the recent spate of political rebellion in Uttar Pradesh, reports the Mumbai Mirror.

“This Shall Not be Tolerated”: BJP Leader Files Case

The movie was slated for release in 2019, the year of the next general elections. But even without revealing much of the subject matter of the movie, Nostrum Entertainment Production had already drawn the ire of one senior BJP leader who called the movie “politically motivated”.

IP Singh, former minister in the government of Uttar Pradesh, launched a fierce attack on the film, saying it maligned the chief minister’s reputation and also the Hindu culture.

“This is not only a ploy to tarnish the image of CM Yogi Adityanath but also an attempt to malign Hindu culture and the Nath lineage,” tweeted IP Singh, senior BJP leader.

I openly challenge the makers of this film to release the film if they are courageous; such vileness for cheap publicity will not be tolerated.
IP Singh, senior BJP Leader

Singh also alleged political backing for the film to have come from the Samajwadi Party (SP) – rivals of the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh.

Information from sources indicate that Abu Azmi, an SP leader from Mumbai, has a hand in this.
IP Singh, senior BJP leader

“Before the 2019 elections, this is a plan to harm the image of respected Yogiji, who is standing strong on the foundation of progress. This conspiracy shall not in any way be tolerated,” he said.

Singh filed a defamation case against the makers of the film in Vibhuti Khand Police Station in Lucknow, likely under Article 500 of the Indian Penal code.

“We have filed a case against the filmmakers at the Vibhuti Khand Police Station.”

How Twitter Reacted

Some Twitter users expressed similar outrage at the poster, calling it a ‘publicity stunt’ meant to attack the UP chief minister in the guise of a biopic. The reactions were quite vitriolic.

Some others came out in support of the film and said that the poster depicted the real state of Gorakhpur and was an honest look at the ground realities.

Director Scraps Project

Vinod Tiwari announced that he intends to shelve the project owing to the negative reactions it generated on social media.

Tiwari clarified in a press release that the poster was not meant to hurt religious sentiments.

“I want to notify all Indians that immediately after my film ‘Zila Gorakhpur’ was announced, the reactions on social media made me realise that all sorts of allegations are being made against the film that have no basis in reality. These false reports have certainly hurt the masses. My intention is neither to hurt anybody’s feelings nor to spread malice.”

So, for the sake of the country and society, I am shutting down this project. Thank you.
Vinod Tiwari, Director of ‘Zila Gorakhpur’

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