A local official from India’s ruling Hindu nationalist party has registered a police complaint against an Amazon Prime web series alleging it insults Hindu gods and goddesses, and threatened to launch a protest at the company’s office in Mumbai.
According to NDTV, the director, producer and writer of the Saif Ali Khan-Dimple Kapadia starrer Tandav and Amazon's head of India Original Content have been accused in the case of promoting religious enmity and defiling a place of worship.
Protests against Amazon.com have been organised for Monday to warn it not to show scenes insulting Hindu gods and goddesses, Ram Kadam, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of the Maharashtra legislative assembly, said in a tweet after filing a complaint with police in Mumbai on Sunday.
Kadam, according to News18, said on Monday that he will head to the offices of Amazon Prime Video and seek an apology. "All Hindus should stop buying from Amazon and delete the Prime Video app. Saif Ali Khan would have seen the script, why did he agree to be a part of the show? He should clarify his stand. They should remove the series and apologise to all Hindus," he said.
Set in Delhi, Tandav by hit filmmaker Ali Abbas Zafar features an array of characters scheming for political power. The political drama also drew the ire of other 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.
Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.
According to Hindustan Times, police personnel were spotted stationed outside Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor's home in Mumbai on Sunday. "Saif appears to have been given additional security amid mounting controversy around his show Tandav," said the article.
India late last year brought streaming platforms under the oversight of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and said it plans to regulate their content.
Reuters partner ANI reported on Sunday that the ministry had summoned Amazon Prime Video officials in connection with the controversy.
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.