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Last Updated 15.06.2024 | 4:34 PM IST
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Roy Kapur Films announce biopic on India’s first Chief Election Commissioner Sukumar Sen

en Bollywood News Roy Kapur Films announce biopic on India’s first Chief Election Commissioner Sukumar Sen

He was the architect behind the country’s first general elections in 1951-52, which cemented India’s status as a newly minted independent democracy.

Siddharth Roy Kapur’s production house Roy Kapur Films (RKF) is known for backing unique and differentiated stories, and after the huge success of Rocket Boys, it plans to bring alive the untold story of another Indian hero. Roy Kapur Films along with Trickitainment Media, has acquired the rights to produce a biopic on the life of Sukumar Sen, India’s first Chief Election Commissioner and the architect behind the country’s first general elections in 1951-52, which cemented India’s status as a newly minted independent democracy.

Roy Kapur Films announce biopic on India's first Chief Election Commissioner Sukumar Sen

Roy Kapur Films announce biopic on India’s first Chief Election Commissioner Sukumar Sen

A brilliant mathematician turned civil servant, Sukumar Sen played a crucial role in India’s transition from a British colony to a democratic republic, surpassing what anyone could have imagined at the dawn of independence and creating a lasting and exemplary electoral system. His biggest challenge in a young nation that had never experienced an election before, was to execute the entire process within just two years of the country becoming a republic on January 26th, 1950, resulting in ‘the biggest experiment in democracy in human history’, in his own words. No Indian official had ever before confronted a challenge of such magnitude.

Sukumar Sen’s job was mind-boggling in its complexity: to organize the largest democratic exercise in the world in a land of three million square kilometres; across varied terrains of mountains, deserts and forests; with an electorate of 175 million people, 85 per cent of whom were illiterate and dispersed across thousands of cities, towns and villages in 565 princely kingdoms and numerous newly formed states. At stake were as many as 4,500 seats – about 500 for Parliament and the rest for the provincial assemblies. In a poor country, only recently independent and just coming into its own, 224,000 polling booths were constructed and equipped with 2 million steel ballot boxes for which 8,200 tonnes of steel were consumed; 16,500 clerks were appointed on six-month contracts to type and collate the electoral rolls by constituency; 380,000 reams of paper were used for printing the rolls and 389,816 phials of ink were used; 56,000 presiding officers were chosen to supervise the voting, aided by another 280,000 helpers; and 224,000 policemen were put on duty to guard against violence and intimidation!

In remote hill villages, bridges had to be constructed to facilitate access to voters and for small islands in the Indian Ocean, naval vessels had to be used to transport electoral rolls to booths. Tribals from some forest districts came to the booths with their bows and arrows proudly achieving as much as 70 per cent turnout at one booth in the jungle, while a neighbouring booth was visited only by an elephant and two panthers! Dedicated citizens wanting to exercise their franchise reached booths after days of trekking through wild jungles, camping at night amid songs and dances around the fire.

After all the votes were counted, Sukumar Sen and his team’s herculean efforts had led to approximately 60 percent of registered voters exercising their right to vote for the very first time in their lives. Against all the odds, India's first general election was a milestone in the history of democracy and the largest election the world had ever seen.

Announcing this inspiring biopic on the eve of the counting day of India’s 18th General Elections, the makers seek to remind audiences of the sheer ambition and audacity behind the country’s first and the world’s largest electoral process that we now take for granted, and for which Sukumar Sen laid the foundation.

Sharing his thoughts about the biopic, producer Siddharth Roy Kapur stated, “We are so honoured to bring to life the incredible story of one of our national heroes Sukumar Sen, who played a crucial role in shaping India’s democratic history. From the very system of identifying political parties by different symbols and colours in order to combat illiteracy to coming up with the idea of indelible ink on fingernails to avoid voter impersonation…so many of his innovations are in place even today! His contribution to laying the architecture for our democratic process deserves to be celebrated and we look forward to bringing audiences in India and around the world this thrilling story of our very first election and the amazing man behind it.”

"We firmly believe that Sukumar Sen's legendary and historically significant story, filled with monumental and dramatic moments, will resonate with all Indian citizens who exercise the right to vote. Told after 73 years, it is a must-see for all generations across the nation," said Romanchak Arora from Trickitainment Media

“One of India's greatest successes as a nation has been its successful democracy. The foundation of all democracies is free and fair elections and the credit for laying the bedrock for this vibrant electoral process must go to Sukumar Sen, my grandfather and the 1st CEC of Independent India. I wish the producers all the success to portray the untold story of an unsung hero of this great nation.” said Sen’s grandson Sanjiv Sen.

“I congratulate the producers and wish them all success in their endeavour. This is a laudable effort to make the people of our country aware of a remarkable person and his achievements.” added his second grandson Debdatta Sen.

ALSO READ: Vidya Balan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Siddharth Roy Kapur and Kunaal Roy Kapur burn the dance floor on ‘Jumma Chumma De De’ at a wedding, watch


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