A legal notice has been sent to actor-producer Anushka Sharma over an alleged casteist slur used in the web series Paatal Lok produced by her.
According to the sources, Viren Sri Gurung, who is a member of the Lawyers Guild which has been formed to offer legal aid during the time of COVID-19, has sent the legal notice to the actor.
Gurung in his legal notice said that the word is insulting towards the Nepali community.
“There is a clip wherein during an interrogation a lady police officer uses a casteist slur on a Nepali character. There wouldn’t have been any problem had only ‘Nepali’ been used. But the word that follows it is unacceptable. Since actress Anushka is one of the producers of the show, we have served her a notice”, Gurung said. He added that he is yet to receive a response from her, and that he will take the matter up with Amazon next.
Ironically, Anushka’s husband and Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli had, just two days ago, turned into a poster boy of millions of Hindus when he appreciated the social service of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for the poor during lockdown.
Previously, an organisation representing Gorkhas had claimed that a scene in Paatal Lok contains a sexual slur directed at the community and indulges in stereotyping of the people of the Northeast, and demanded that the conversation be muted.
Recently, Bharatiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh (BhaGoYuP), the youth wing of Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, had started an online petition demanding that a scene in the series should be muted and the corresponding subtitle is uploaded again with a disclaimer as the scene contains a sexual slur directed at the Gorkha community.
In the scene, the alleged Nepali slur has been used against a woman character whose name suggests she belongs to the Khasi community of Meghalaya, said the online petition started by Namrata Sharma, who is the social welfare secretary of the BhaGoYuP.
“Nepali is one of the 22 scheduled languages and there are 10.5 million people in India who speak Nepali as the common tongue. The Gorkha community is the largest Nepali speaking community and this is a direct insult to the community,” the Bharatiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh said.
“We strongly condemn it in toughest terms and seek immediate removal of the scene’s subtitles and mute the slur,” the petition to be sent to Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
Starring Jaideep Ahlawat, Gul Panag, Neeraj Kabi, Abhishek Banerjee, Swastika Mukherjee in lead roles, Paatal Lok focuses on swarg lok, dharti lok and paatal lok. The series begins with this introduction and leads on to a cop landing the case of a lifetime. A journalist’s life is threatened and four suspects are taken into police custody, and their pasts reveal a dark secret. Paatal Lok was released to positive reviews on 15 May.
Anushka Sharma’s production house will next produce two projects for Netflix: a period drama film entitled Bulbul, and a drama series named Mai about a middle-aged housewife fighting crime.