Controversy Ignites In India Over Amazon Prime Original Series ‘Tandav’ – Update

Controversy Ignites In India Over Amazon Prime Original Series ‘Tandav’ – Update

UPDATED, 6AM: 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.”

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PREVIOUSLY, 3AM: Amazon Prime Video original Hindi series Tandav has come under fire in India over its depiction of Hindu gods and goddesses.

According to reports from the country over the weekend including in The Hindu Times, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has contacted the streamer to request an explanation of the show’s religious content after MP Manoj Kotak called for it to be banned.

Kotak posted a letter on Twitter that he penned to Prakash Javdekar, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, in which he suggested the content of the series was “deliberately mocking Hindu Gods and disrespecting Hindu religious sentiments”.

In the letter, which you can read below, he also called for “urgent” regulation of OTT platforms in India, claiming that they were “taking undue advantage” of being free from authority censorship. He added that streaming content was “full of sex, violence, drugs, abuse, hate and vulgarity”.

The Ministry has taken his complaint seriously enough to contact Amazon for further clarity on the matter. Deadline has reached out to Amazon Prime Video India’s reps for comment.

Created by Ali Abbas Zafar, political drama series Tandav stars Saif Ali Khan in a story that attempts to take viewers inside the capital city of the world’s largest democracy, exploring the inner workings of Indian politics. It was released on Amazon Prime on January 15.

A police complaint has also reportedly been registered against the show’s producers and Amazon regarding the perceived issues detailed above.

“After watching the series, it was found that in the 17th minute of the first episode, characters playing Hindu gods and goddesses have been shown in an uncharitable way and using objectionable language, which can incite religious tension,” the complaint read, according to a report in Indian Express. “Similarly, in the 22nd minute of the same episode, efforts have been made to ignite caste clashes with casteist remarks. The person holding a dignified post like that of Prime Minister has been shown in a very derogatory manner in the web series.”

Deadline recently sat down with top Amazon India execs Aparna Purohit and Gaurav Gandhi to discuss the company’s 2021 strategy in the booming streaming market.