The police in Bengaluru have filed an first information report against the director, producer, and key actors of Amazon Prime web series Tandav for allegedly hurting religious sentiments, The Indian Express reported on Sunday.
The FIR was registered at KR Puram police station based on a complaint by a Bengaluru-based social worker, Kiran Aradhya. A police officer said they have sought legal opinion before starting proceedings as controversial scenes were removed recently from the show. The complainant said that the show portrays Hindu deity Shiva in “a poor light” as the actor playing the role used foul language.
Tandav director Ali Abbas Zafar, producer Farhan Akhtar, actors Saif Ali Khan, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, and Aparna Purohit have been named in the FIR. The police have charged them under Sections 295 A (deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings), 298 (utters any word or makes any sound with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person), 153 A (wanton vilification or attacks upon the religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
The web series purportedly provides a commentary on India’s political scene under the Narendra Modi government. The show touches upon farmer agitations to student protests to police killings – all events that have happened under the administration of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
FIRs have been filed in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Mumbai as well. Amid the intensifying backlash, Amazon Prime Video had last week caved in and agreed to make alterations to the series. “We have utmost respect for the sentiments of the people of our country,” said a statement from the cast and crew. Zafar had said that the team had no intentions to hurt or offend the sentiments of any caste, race, community or religion.
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.