Mumbai: The makers of “Tandav” on Tuesday agreed to implement changes to their controversial webseries after several FIRs were filed against the political drama for alleged inappropriate depiction of Hindu deities and calls for its ban.
The day also saw many political leaders expressing the need for close monitoring of OTT platforms besides protests at some places with the demonstrators burning effigies of series director Ali Abbas Zafar among others.
“Tandav”, a nine-episode political thriller starring Bollywood A-listers Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, started streaming on Amazon Prime Video on Friday but the show ran into trouble over its depiction of Hindu deities.
Taking cognisance of complaints over the web series, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had on Sunday sought an explanation from Amazon Prime Video on the issue.
With the controversy refusing to die down, the cast and crew of the Amazon Prime Video series Tuesday evening said they have decided to implement changes to it to address concerns.
In a statement, the team said, “We have utmost respect for the sentiments of the people of our country. We did not intend to hurt or offend the sentiments of any individual, caste, community, race, religion or religious beliefs or insult or outrage any institution, political party or person, living or dead.”
Facing outrage, the cast and crew had on Monday issued an unconditional apology if their fictional show had “unintentionally” hurt sentiments.
At the centre of the row is a scene with Ayyub, in the role of college student Shiva, playing the Hindu god Mahadev (also a name for Shiva) in a theatre production. Another student playing Narad wonders about the increasing followers of Lord Ram on social media.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra condemned the way Ayyub, Khan and Zafar “reacted to our religion and hurt sentiments”.
“The Madhya Pradesh government will register a case in this regard,” he said in Bhopal.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also reacted to the controversy, saying “no one has the right to hurt our faith and insult our deities.”
He said “obscenity being served on OTT platforms is not good for our teenagers” and called for close monitoring of these platforms.
Haryana’s Home Minister Anil Vij demanded that “Tandav” be removed from the Amazon platform, saying it has hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community.
He also said that the Centre should make a provision that no web series can be screened without being passed by the censor board.
Uttarakhand BJP vice president Devendra Bhasin said all web series should be censored before being streamed on OTT platforms.
“The makers of Tandav have apologised. It is good if they really mean it. Only time will tell whether or not they make the necessary changes in the web series. However, it is time all web series are censored before being streamed on OTT platforms,” he said in a tweet. OTT content does not come under the ambit of the Central Board of Film Certification at present. The government though had recently brought OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar, besides other online news and current affairs content, under the ambit of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, giving it powers to regulate policies and rules for the digital space.
Meanwhile, there were protests at some places in Haryana by Bajrang Dal activists and VHP and Hindu Jagran Manch members in Uttar Pradesh who also burnt effigies of some stars and makers of the web series. The VHP also demanded that NSA be invoked against Zafar.
In Uttar Pradesh, three FIRs have been lodged against the makers and artists of “Tandav” — in Lucknow, Greater Noida and Shahjahanpur.
The complainants have alleged inappropriate depiction of Uttar Pradesh Police personnel, Hindu deities, and adverse portrayal of a character playing the prime minister in the political drama.
The latest FIR at Rabupura in Greater Noida names as accused Zafar, Amazon Prime’s India head Aparna Purohit, producer Himanshu Kishan Mehra, writer Gaurav Solanki and actors Khan, Kapadia and Sunil Grover.