Objection raised by a section of netizens has now led to some serious action against the Amazon Prime web series Tandav. A First Information Report has been registered against the show for allegedly hurting religious sentiments in Lucknow. The FIR registered at Hazratganj Kotwali has named director Ali Abbas Zafar, the show producer Himanshu Krishna Mehra, writer Gaurav Solanki and others.
The FIR against Amazon India original content head Aparna Purohit, show Director Ali Abbas Zafar, Producer Himanshu Krishna Mehra, Writer Gaurav Solanki and others has been registered under sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language), 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 505 (1) (B) (statements conducing to public mischief with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility) and 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) along with sections of the IT Act.
In the FIR, complainant Amar Nath Yadav, who is a Senior Sub-Inspector at the Hazratganj police station, alleged that following the release of the show on 16 January there are many angry comments against the show and several people are sharing clippings of the web series online. The complainant said that in the 17th minute of the first episode Hindu Gods are seen speaking in an objectionable language. Similarly in the 22nd minute of the episode there are casteist statements.
The development came hours after the Information & Broadcasting Ministry summoned Amazon Prime’s head officials in the controversy on 17 January.
Among other legal trouble for the show included Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ram Kadam registering a complaint with the Mumbai Police. This was after he sought a ban on the show till the objectionable portion was removed. He held a protest against the show in Mumbai on 17 January.
He later tweeted his displeasure over the lack of apology from Amazon in the case even after 24 hours. Accusing the company of being proud of their ‘demeaning act’ of ‘insulting’ Hindu Gods, he sought that Hindus stop buying products from their e-commerce website.
Soon after the case was registered, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s media adviser Shalabh Mani Tripathi shared a copy of it on Twitter.
“There is no tolerance for playing with people’s sentiments in Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh. A serious case has been registered against the entire team of Tandav, which is spreading hate in the guise of cheap web series. Prepare for arrest,” he wrote in Hindi.
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Swayaksevak Sangh’s Indresh Kumar reacted strongly to the Tandav controversy and said, “If insult will be done on religious sentiments then struggle will happen, bloodshed will happen. The sensible thing is to do not do such monstrous and inhuman things and respect the faith of others. A law should be made on this.”
A section of netizens had objected to a scene where Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub appeared to be playing a character based on Lord Shiva. His appearance and the host of a college theatre festival, where the scene was set, stating that he needed to do something to raise his popularity, because ‘Ram ji’s followers were increasing’ was not taken too kindly by some. The audiences then chant the controversial ‘Azaadi’ slogans, popularised by Jawaharlal Nehru University alumni like Kanhaiya Kumar.
Tandav stars Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Kritika Kamra, Sunil Grover, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Sarah-Jane Dias, Shonali Nagrani, among others. The nine-episode series had been unveiled on Amazon Prime on 15 January.