Roy Kapur Films Sets Biopic on India’s First Chief Election Commissioner Sukumar Sen (EXCLUSIVE)

Siddharth Roy Kapur‘s Roy Kapur Films (RKF), in collaboration with Trickitainment Media, is set to produce a biopic on Sukumar Sen, India’s first Chief Election Commissioner

Published Time: 03.06.2024 - 10:31:24 Modified Time: 03.06.2024 - 10:31:24

Siddharth Roy Kapur‘s Roy Kapur Films (RKF), in collaboration with Trickitainment Media, is set to produce a biopic on Sukumar Sen, India’s first Chief Election Commissioner.

RKF’s latest project follows the success of SonyLIV series “Rocket Boys,” a fictionalized version of the story of Dr. Homi J. Bhabha, who engineered India’s nuclear program and Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, who established the Indian space program.It will chronicle the life of Sen, the architect behind India’s first general elections in 1951-52.

Sen, a mathematician and civil servant, was pivotal in transitioning India from a British colony to a democratic republic. Tasked with organizing the world’s largest democratic exercise, Sen managed an electorate of 175 million people spread across 565 princely kingdoms and newly formed states.

The logistics were daunting. Some 224,000 polling booths were constructed and equipped with two million steel ballot boxes; 16,500 clerks were appointed on six-month contracts to type and collate the electoral rolls by constituency; 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 voter access. For small islands in the Indian Ocean, naval vessels had to be used to transport electoral rolls to booths. Tribal people from some forest districts came to the booths with their bows and arrows achieving as much as 70% turnout at one booth in the jungle, while a neighboring booth was visited only by an elephant and two panthers.

Despite the enormity of the challenge, Sen’s efforts resulted in 60% voter turnout, solidifying India’s democratic foundation.

Announced on the eve of India’s 18th general elections counting day, the biopic aims to highlight the ambition and audacity of Sen’s work -

and remind audiences of the monumental effort behind the electoral process that is often taken for granted in a country that is the most populous in the world and is the world’s largest democracy.

It is not decided yet whether the project will be a film or a series. The director and cast are being finalized.

Kapur said: “We are so honored 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 colors 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.”

Sen’s grandson Sanjiv Sen added: “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 first CEC of independent India. I wish the producers all the success to portray the untold story of an unsung hero of this great nation.”

Sen’s second grandson Debdatta Sen said: “This is a laudable effort to make the people of our country aware of a remarkable person and his achievements.”

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