BJP leader Kapil Mishra sends Amazon notice on web series ‘Tandav’ a day after I&B Ministry seeks explanation from makers for ‘hurting’ Hindu sentiments

Published : January 18, 2021 14:22 IST

BJP supporters throw ink and footwear at a protest against 'Tandav' in Mumbai on January 18, 2021. (Photo by Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

The Saif Ali Khan and Dimple Kapadia-starring web series Tandav on Amazon Prime Video now faces a legal notice from controversial politician Kapil Mishra, calling for its removal and an apology. This comes a day after the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting sought an explanation from Amazon’s OTT service, on the allegations that the series ridicules Hindu deities.

The politically themed show began streaming from January 15. The legal notice has been filed by Yukti Rathi, an advocate at the Delhi High Court. Separately, an FIR was also filed at Lucknow’s Hazratganj Police Station for similar reasons.

The notice, among other things, alleges that the show is ‘full of hatred’ and portrays Lord Shiva in a ‘flippant’ way which has ‘hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus globally’. It adds that scenes in the web series make it clear that the filmmakers intended to ‘create communal divide between Hindu and Muslims [sic]’ and that its episodes are ‘inciting and provoking the communal disharmony and sentiments of Hindus’.

The notice alleges that the show reeks of political vendetta against the Central government and the Uttar Pradesh authorities, including their police whose depiction as physically harassing Muslims/women is ‘wrongful’. It even goes on to accuse the makers of ‘unlawfully’ promoting drugs and smoking, and shaming the entirety of the Indian judicial system, including magistrates and lawyers.

It raises three demands to be met within 72 hours of receipt of the notice by Amazon Seller Services Private Limited, Bengaluru: remove the series and stop it from being aired, unconditionally apologise before the public, and ‘cease and desist’ from indulging in such acts in the future. “I believe that our demands will be fulfilled, and if not, being a lawyer it is my duty to sue them. If they will not take down the series, I will fight the legal battle.” Rathi told Frontline. When asked if the show’s creative liberties are protected by the freedom of speech and expression, she said, “This right of free speech is not absolute,” and cited the reasonable restrictions under the laws.

Kapil Mishra took to Twitter to announce the issuance of the notice, saying that he demands that Amazon ‘immediately remove Tandav from its platform or face criminal proceedings’.

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