The cast and crew of Amazon Prime series Tandav apologised on Monday evening for unintentionally hurting sentiments after the Uttar Pradesh Police filed a first information report against the makers. The apology was released by the director of the series, Ali Abbas Zafar, who was named in the FIR along with three others.
“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 statement read.
The cast and crew highlighted that the web series is a work of fiction and “any resemblance to acts and persons and events is purely coincidental”. They also said it was not the intention of those involved with the series to “offend the sentiments” of anyone.
“The cast and crew of Tandav take cognisance of the concerns expressed by the people and unconditionally apologise if it has unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments,” the statement read.
Controversy around the web series
The makers of the web series, which stars actors Saif Ali Khan, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Dimple Kapadia, have been accused of defiling a place of worship and promoting religious animosity. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath’s Media Advisor Shalabh Mani Tripathi also warned the web series’ team of arrest. After the FIR was filed, a team of four police officials left for Mumbai to investigate the matter.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra had also issued a legal notice to Amazon Prime. He asked the platform to remove the series or threatened to begin criminal proceedings. On Monday, a lawyer from Bihar filed a criminal complaint in a court in Muzaffarpur against 96 people associated with web series.
Amid tensions, security was stepped up outside the head office of Amazon as well as Saif Ali Khan’s office in Mumbai. This came after BJP MLA Ram Kadam took out a procession outside Amazon’s office in the city’s Bandra Kurla Complex.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had asked Amazon Prime for an explanation on the matter. This was done after BJP MP Manoj Kotak sought a ban on the series for insulting Hindu gods.
Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati also supported the censorship of “whatever is objectionable” about the web series.
The controversy around Tandav came two months after a similar row over Netflix series A Suitable Boy. The Madhya Pradesh Police had filed a case in November against two people, including the vice president of the streaming platform, for allegedly hurting religious sentiments after BJP members and Hindutva activists objected to a kissing scene between the show’s protagonists in a temple.