November 30, 2023


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The “Right” and Rewrite: 9 things to know about the “Tandav” Controversy

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Why is Amazon Prime's Tandav in a soup?
  1. Released on 15 January 2020, “Tandav”, Amazon Prime’s new web series on Indian politics starring Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Zeeshan Ayub and directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, faces criminal actions after a sub-inspector from Hazratganj police station, Lucknow, filed a case against the makers over an alleged insult to Hindu gods.
  1. India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting sought a response from Amazon Prime after a previous case filed by Maharashtra MLA Ram Kadam at Mumbai’s Ghatkopar police station. 
  1.  The complaint states that 17 minutes into the first episode, “people dressed up in a very bad manner to represent Hindu gods and goddesses and have been shown to speak in a very uncalled for language… that hurts religious sentiments”.

    [Watch Tandav’s trailer here
  1. “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,” wrote Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s media adviser Shalabh Mani Tripathi in Hindi.
  1. BJP leader Ram Kadam also said, “I have decided to write a letter to Union Minister Prakash Javadekar regarding this issue and will also mention that all the Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms must be brought under censorship.”
  1. When contacted about the complaints, Amazon Prime Video PR said the platform “won’t be responding” on the matter1.
  1. Tandav creator Ali Abbas Zafar has apologized after the series received a backlash in India following its debut on Amazon Prime on January 15, full statement below:

“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 people,” read the statement on behalf of the show’s cast and crew, posted on Zafar’s Instagram.“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 tot offend the sentiments of any individual, caste, community, race, religion or religious belief 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.”

8. The makers of Tandav have said on 19 January they will make changes in the content “to address concerns”, a little over 24 hours after a police complaint was filed over hurting religious sentiments.

9. The Supreme Court on Wednesday 27 Jan, refused to grant protection to actor Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub and makers of Amazon Prime Video Tandav from arrest in several FIRs against them.  The court asked them to approach the High Courts for an anticipatory bail or quash…

This is a developing story. Compiled by Tushar G.

Sources: The Hindu, NDTV, Deccanherald

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