Saif Ali Khan and the makers of Tandav are at the receiving end of backlash and outrage after a local official from India’s ruling Hindu nationalist party registered a police complaint against Amazon Prime’s latest web series alleging it insults Hindu gods and goddesses.
Protests against Amazon were also organised and party supporters marched to Amazon’s office in Mumbai on Monday, but the police only allowed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ram Kadam and few other supporters to enter the office. After the BJP leader met the officials of Amazon Prime Video, he tweeted that the company’s officials were adamant about their views and urged people to boycott Amazon altogether.
“We went to Amazon’s office in BKC to ask them to stop Tandav’s streaming and apologise for the same. But they still aren’t letting go of their pride. I ask the whole nation to boycott Amazon’s products and show the power of this nation,” said Kadam in a tweet.
According to details, the political drama drew the ire of lawmakers from the BJP causing fresh controversy for the e-commerce giant which last year had to withdraw dozens of rugs and doormats depicting Hindu gods from its international Amazon.com platform after a backlash in India.
BJP Member of Parliament Manoj Kotak, in a letter to India’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar dated Saturday, said that the makers of Tandav “have deliberately mocked Hindu gods and disrespected Hindu religious sentiments”.
He called on the ministry to immediately form an authority to regulate streaming platforms, and in the meantime called for a ban on the series till the required scenes are not removed.
Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.
Meanwhile, Saif Ali Khan, who plays the ruthless Samar Pratap in the show, has been given police security. A set of policemen were seen guarding his building to ensure all the safety required to the star and his family.
BJP leaders have also demanded Saif to clarify his position related to the controversy.
“Whenever an actor signs a film or a web series, he’s narrated the script,” said MLA Ram Kadam. “A seasoned actor like Saif would have clearly known what was the content of the series and yet he agreed to do it.”
“We have a question for Saif. Why didn’t he say no to such a project where the religious sentiments of Hindus are being hurt? Why didn’t he say such content is inappropriate? We want to know what is the position of the talented actor in this regard,” he continued.
“The whole country and supporters of Hindu Gods and Goddesses will delete the app and boycott all Amazon products from here on. This has been going on for far too long. The Bollywood industry, web series makers, and actors like Saif need to understand that Hindus will not tolerate this anymore,” he added.
Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, the political drama also stars Sunil Grover, Dimple Kapadia, Sarah-Jane Dias, Gauahar Khan, Kritika Kamra, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, and Dino Morea in lead roles.
India late last year brought streaming platforms under the oversight of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and said it plans to regulate their content.
Streaming services have gained traction in India because of the availability of affordable smartphones and cheap mobile data, making the South Asian nation a battleground for Amazon, Netflix, and Disney as they seek to expand outside their home markets.