Politicians in the ruling party are calling for the show to be deleted, claiming it “ deliberately mocked the Hindu gods. ”
The cast and crew of a popular streaming series starring Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan have apologized after ruling party politicians called the show insensitive to Hindus.
The Amazon Prime drama Tandav – loosely compared to the American series House of Cards – drew criticism from members of the Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata (BJP) after its release on Friday.
Several BJP politicians have called for the show to be cut, saying it “deliberately mocks Hindu gods” and disrespects religious sentiments.
One of the scenes criticized is an academic play in which the Hindu god Shiva speaks of “aazadi” (freedom), a rallying cry of last year’s anti-government protests in the capital.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry told the cast and crew that it had received “a large number of grievances and petitions … with serious concerns and apprehensions” about the series, wrote Director Ali Abbas Zafar in a post on Instagram and Twitter on Monday.
“Tandav is a work of fiction and any resemblance to acts, people and events is purely coincidental,” he added in a statement.
“The cast and crew of ‘Tandav’… unconditionally apologize if this unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings.
Our sincere apologies. pic.twitter.com/Efr9s0kYnl
– ali abbas zafar (@aliabbaszafar) January 18, 2021
Police were seen stationed outside Khan’s house in Mumbai on Sunday amid the dispute, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported.
Major streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon and Disney’s Hotstar have expanded their presence in the country by 1.3 billion, including ordering local content.
Streaming TV services are not subject to the country’s strict censorship rules which regularly result in cut scenes in shows and movies.
But there have been more and more calls, especially from BJP politicians, for online shows to be subjected to the same scrutiny.
The most recent controversy concerned the BBC TV version of author Vikram Seth’s epic hit novel, A Suitable Boy, which airs on Netflix, on a stage where a Hindu girl kisses a muslim boy in front of a Hindu temple.
In November, a state politician from the BJP lodged a complaint with the police, saying the show had hurt the religious feelings of Hindus.