Ruling party politicians are calling for the show to be removed, saying it was “intentionally mocking the Hindu deities.”
The crew and crew of a popular broadcast series starring Bollywood superstar Saif Ali Khan have apologized after politicians from the ruling party described the program as insensitive to Hindus.
Amazon Prime Tandaf drama – loosely compared to the US series House of Cards – drew criticism from members of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after its release on Friday.
Several BJP politicians called for the show to be removed, saying it was “intentionally making fun of Hindu deities” and has no respect for religious sentiments.
One of the criticized scenes depicts a university play in which the Hindu god Shiva speaks of “azadi” (freedom), a rallying cry of anti-government protests in the capital last year.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting told the cast and crew that it had received “a large number of grievances and petitions … with serious concerns and apprehensions” regarding the series, director Ali Abbas Zafar wrote in a post on Instagram and Twitter on Monday.
“It is a fictional act, and any resemblance to actions, people and events is a coincidence,” he added in a statement.
“The ‘Tandav’ crew and crew … apologize unconditionally if they inadvertently offended anyone’s feelings.”
Our sincerest apologies. pic.twitter.com/Efr9s0kYnl
– ali abbas zafar (@aliabbaszafar) January 18, 2021
The Hindustan Times reported that police were seen stationed outside Khan’s home in Mumbai on Sunday amid the row.
Leading streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon and Disney’s Hotstar, have expanded their presence in the country of 1.3 billion people, including by streaming local content.
Television broadcasting services are not subject to the country’s strict censorship rules which regularly cut scenes from shows and movies.
But there have been increasing calls, particularly from BJP politicians, for online programs to undergo the same scrutiny.
The most recent controversy includes the BBC TV version of Vikram Seth’s best-selling epic novel, A Suitable Boy, which is broadcast on Netflix, over a scene where a Hindu girl kisses a Muslim boy in front of a Hindu temple.
In November, a politician from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) filed a complaint with police saying the show harmed Hindus’ religious feelings.