New Delhi: A series of BJP leaders, including Kapil Mishra and MP Manoj Kotak, have raised objections about the new Amazon Prime series Tandav, accusing the Saif Ali Khan starrer of hurting Hindu sentiments and also describing it as anti-Dalit.
Released Friday, Tandav is a political drama centred on a ruthless and ambitious leader, played by Khan, that also seems to evoke certain contemporary protest movements, including those involving students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and farmers.
Other stars of the show include Dimple Kapadia, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub.
The name of the series is a reference to the dance form tandav, which is associated with Hindu deities, including Shiv. The sequences criticised by BJP leaders include a scene in the first episode where Ayyub, playing Lord Shiv in a college play, and an actor portraying mythological sage-messenger Narad Muni, talk about ways to build a social media following for the deity that rivals that of Lord Ram. The scene seeks to show the deity speaking a cuss word that has, however, been beeped out.
Another scene deemed controversial is where the PM, played by Dhulia, heaps casteist insults on Anup Soni, who plays a Dalit politician.
Among other things, the leaders have asked the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) to regulate streaming platforms like Amazon Prime that are currently not mandated to get content cleared by any agency, unlike movies, which have to be passed by the Censor board.
The government had last year brought streaming platforms under the purview of the I&B ministry.
‘Full of communal hatred against Hindus’
Kotak, a BJP MP from Mumbai, told ThePrint that he has approached I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar with a request to regulate OTT platforms. He said Tandav has hurt Hindu sentiments and “this is not the first time such incidents are happening”.
“Every time there is sinister design to portray Hindu deities in poor light, but we can’t do anything in the absence of a regulator,” Kotak said. “I have requested Prakash ji to immediately ban this series and install a regulator for future programmes. They are global platforms and it has become a fashion to denigrate Hindu gods. Can they show the gods of another religion in such a way?” he added.
Delhi BJP leader Kapil Mishra said Saturday the show was anti-Dalit and “full of communal hatred against Hindus”.
In a tweet, Mishra used the hashtag “BanTandavNow” now, and asked his followers to write to Javadekar about their concerns. He also included the minister’s email ID in his tweet.
Tandav is anti Dalit and full of communal hatred against Hindus
Please write to @PrakashJavdekar ji
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org#BanTandavNow
— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishra_IND) January 16, 2021
He also made a jibe about the fact that two of the main actors are Muslims.
Meanwhile, BJP Chandigarh spokesperson Gaurav Goel wrote to the Director General of Police Sunday and sought the arrest of the series’ makers.
Complaint against Tandav Series to DGP.#ArrestTeamTandav@aajtak @indiatvnews @IndiaToday @ABPNews @aajtak @ZeeNewsEnglish @republic @CNNnews18 @CNNnews18 @ndtv @TimesNow @pradip103 @CNBCTV18News @NewsNationTV @Zee_Hindustan @NewsNationTV @News18UP @DDNewslive pic.twitter.com/TVrfl3nn7B
— Gaurav Goel (@goelgauravbjp) January 17, 2021
Goel posted a screenshot of a tweet purportedly retweeted by Ayyub that calls for the release of former JNU student activist Umar Khalid, who has been in jail since last year for his alleged role in the 2020 Delhi riots.
In his complaint, he has said the show has “highly objectionable, offensive content”, adding that actors can be seen “insulting Hindu deities openly”.
“They have openly insulted and humiliated Lord Shiva. I request you to register a complaint for causing breach of peace in society,” he added.
Actor Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub took active part during the anti-CAA protest and supported the farmers’ protest.
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