‘Tandav’ makers apologise after criminal case lodged in UP

"The cast and crew of 'Tandav' take cognizance of the concerns expressed by the people and unconditionally apologise if it has unintentionally hurt anybody's sentiments," a statement said

Tandav
Tandav is a nine-episode political thriller starring Bollywood A-listers Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub. | Photo: Twitter

The cast and crew of Amazon Prime Video’s Tandav on Monday tendered an “unconditional apology”, a day after an FIR was lodged in Uttar Pradesh against the web series makers for allegedly depicting Hindu gods in objectionable manner and hurting religious sentiments.

“The cast and crew of ‘Tandav’ take cognizance of the concerns expressed by the people and unconditionally apologise if it has unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments,” said an official statement tweeted by the web show’s director Ali Abbas Zafar on Monday evening.

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The statement said the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Monday informed them about a lot of of grievances being received on “various facets of the web series with serious concerns and apprehensions regarding its content hurting the sentiments of the people.”

“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 to offend the sentiments of any individual, caste, community, race, religion, or religious beliefs, or insult or outrage any institution, political party or person, living or dead,” the statement added.

The apology comes a day after a criminal case was registered in Lucknow against Amazon’s India head of original content Aparna Purohit, Tandav‘s series director Ali Abbas, producer Himanshu Krishna Mehra, writer Gaurav Solanki, and an unknown person, on Sunday night.

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The show, which stars Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Dino Morea, Kumud Mishra, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Gauhar Khan and Kritika Kamra, premiered on Amazon Prime Video on Friday. In view of the controversy, security was stepped up outside the head office of Amazon and at the office of Saif Ali Khan, police said on Monday.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Somen Burma said a four-member police team left for Mumbai on Monday for a detailed probe into the matter. He said the case was lodged at Hazratganj PS by Senior Sub Inspector Amarnath Yadav after he watched the web series.

In the FIR, the complainant SI said Tandav was viewed on directions of senior officials after the monitoring of social media revealed there was public outrage against it. On viewing the series, it was found Hindu gods and goddesses were presented in an “undignified manner” in the first episode during its 17th minute and were seen using foul and filthy language.

Similarly in 22nd minute of the same episode as well as at several places in other episodes of the series, there are several dialogues attributable to deities and other characters which have the potential to incite caste anger, the FIR said, adding that the character in the series occupying the prime minister’s post has been portrayed in a “very belittling manner”.

The intent of the web series is to incite religious sentiments of a particular community and trigger communal enmity in the society, the FIR said.

Political reactions

BJP MP Manoj Kotak said Sunday he has written to Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar seeking a ban on Tandav for ridiculing Hindu deities. The Mumbai North-East MP said that different organisations and individuals have complained Hindu gods and goddesses have been ridiculed in the web series.

Besides, another BJP lawmaker, Maharashtra’s Ghatkopar MLA Ram Kadam has called for a boycott of the web series. In a tweet, he urged “all Hindus to boycott Amazon’s products, be it their shopping site or content platform.”

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In Madhya Pradesh, state minister Vishvas Sarang and state Assembly’s protem Speaker Rameshwar Sharma too have appealed to Javadekar to ban Tandav. Sarang has also said that “a censor board is needed for the OTT segment as it is increasingly becoming popular.”

BJP leader Kapil Mishra has also sent a legal notice to Amazon Prime Video demanding that the web series be removed from their platform immediately, otherwise criminal proceedings will be initiated against them.

BSP President Mayawati, meanwhile, called for removing the objectionable content from the web series. In a tweet, she said that in respect of the ongoing protests against the Tandav web series, it would be appropriate the remove whatever is objectionable.

Charges invoked

Various section under which the FIR has been lodged, include 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds like race, religion, and place of birth), 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Section 505 (1)(B) of the IPC related to making statements, potentially triggering public mischief and prompting an individual or people to commit an offence against the state amongst other and various sections of the Information Technology Act too have been added in the FIR.

(With inputs from agencies)

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