2.0 producer refutes COAI’s claims against Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar’s film: ‘It’s a work of fiction’

Rajnikanth and Akshay Kumar starrer 2.0 portrays the ill-effects of “unregulated growth of mobile services” and objections of the telecom industry are bogus, the film’s production house Lyca Productions has said. Telecom industry body COAI had earlier this week requested the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) to revoke the certification of 2.0, saying its trailers show mobile phones and towers in a bad light.

In a strongly worded letter to the CBFC, Lyca said the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has “no rudimentary knowledge of law and film production” and “they appear to be a puppet in the hands of a rival film producer”. “The theme of the film is not against development or mobile services, but against unregulated growth of mobile services. While the objections of the COAI is bogus and empty and revolves around ‘no effect’ of electronics waves on human beings and commercial view of its members, we as film producer have chosen a subject that has fantasy and fiction as well,” Lyca said in the letter dated 26 November.

2.0, with a reported budget of around Rs 600 crore, released Thursday. Meanwhile, COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said the filmmakers have clarified that the movie is fictional and not based on scientific evidence.

“We have raised concern before appropriate authorities. We hope people will understand that it is fiction and not ask for removing cell phone towers. In case there is unwanted activity against networks then it will be for the government to handle it,” Mathews said. In its letter, Lyca said the producers of the film need not accept COAI’s views that there are no ill-effects of mobile towers.

“We are under no obligation to toe the line with the said Association… the film does not hunt or defame anyone,” Lyca said, adding that it does not make documentaries or had been appointed as an ‘agent’ of any telecom association. “The COAI has claimed that radiations on human being are a subject matter of various researches. The very fact that a cell phone tower is ordered to be distanced from habitation prima facie shows that it has an impact on living beings,” Lyca said. It said that the censor board, which cleared the film, did not find anything serious or objectionable.

“The complainant viz COAI cannot force the hand of the government and other statutory bodies to stall its release. We request you to not to entertain any vexatious letters at the instance of this interloper,” it said. The COAI, whose members include Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea, has alleged that the promotional videos are based on the theme that electromagnetic field emissions from mobile phones and towers are harmful to living creatures and the environment.