A criminal case has been registered here against the makers of the web series 'Tandav' and Amazon's India head of original content for allegedly depicting Hindu gods in an objectionable manner, hurting the religious sentiments of people. The FIR was lodged against Amazon's India head of original content, Aparna Purohit, series director Ali Abbas, producer Himanshu Krishna Mehra, writer Gaurav Solanki, and an unknown person on Sunday night. And now the makers of the web series have issued an unconditional apology in the latest released official statement.
The official statement was tweeted by the director and read: "We have been closely monitoring viewer reactions to the web series ‘Tandav’ and today during a discussion, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting have informed us regarding a large number of grievances and petitions received on various facets of the web series with serious concerns and apprehensions regarding its content hurting the sentiments of the people.
The web series ‘Tandav’ is a work of fiction and any resemblance to acts and persons and events is purely coincidental. The cast and crew did not have any intention to 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. The cast and crew of ‘Tandav’ take cognizance of the concerns expressed by the people and unconditionally apologize if it has unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments."
The film starred Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Dino Morea, Kumud Mishra, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Gauhar Khan, and Kritika Kamra, premiered on the streaming platform on Friday.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Somen Burma said a four-member police team left for Mumbai on Monday for a detailed probe into the matter. “The FIR was lodged at Hazratganj police station by its Senior Sub Inspector Amarnath Yadav himself after he saw the allegedly objectionable web series,” the DCP said.
BSP President Mayawati, meanwhile, called for removing the objectionable content from the web series. “Protests are being lodged against some scenes hurting the religious and ethnic sentiments in the Tandav web series, in respect of which it would be appropriate to remove whatever is objectionable so that the atmosphere of peace, harmony and mutual brotherhood in the country is not spoiled,” she said in a tweet on Monday.
In the FIR lodged against the web series, the complainant SI said the series was viewed on directions of senior officials after the monitoring of social media revealed that there was public outrage against the series.
On viewing the series, it was found that Hindu gods and goddesses were presented in an “undignified manner” in the first episode during its 17th minute and were seen using foul and filthy language, hurting religious sentiments of people.
Similarly in the 22nd minute of the same episode as well as at several places in other episodes of the series, there are several dialogues attributable to deities and other characters which have the potential to incite caste anger, the FIR added.
The FIR also said the character in the series occupying the high post of the prime minister of the country has been portrayed in a “very belittling manner” and there are also scenes, depicting people as belonging to high and low castes, and women in insulting manners.
The intent of the web series is to incite religious sentiments of a particular community and trigger communal enmity in the society, the FIR said.
Various section under which the FIR has been lodged, include 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds like race, religion, and place of birth), 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) of the Indian Penal Code.
Section 505 (1) (B) of the IPC related to making statements, potentially triggering public mischief and prompting an individual or people to commit an offence against the state amongst other and various sections of the Information Technology Act too have been added in the FIR.
Taking cognizance of complaints that Hindu gods and goddesses have been ridiculed in the web series, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had on Sunday sought an explanation from streaming platform Amazon Prime Video on the issue, sources had said.
The development came after BJP MP Manoj Kotak on Sunday said he has written to Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar seeking a ban on Amazon Prime Video's series 'Tandav' for ridiculing Hindu deities.
"The ministry has taken cognizance of the matter (complaints) and asked Amazon Prime Video to explain," a source in the ministry had said.
Kotak, the MP from Mumbai North-East, said different organisations and individuals have complained that Hindu gods and goddesses have been ridiculed in the 'Tandav' web series.
When contacted about the complaints, Amazon Prime Video PR had said the platform "won't be responding" on the matter.
The government 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 Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, giving it powers to regulate policies and rules for the digital space.
-With PTI inputs