Nudity, smoking, cuss words, religion – the makers of Sacred Games did not hold back for Netflix India’s first original series, away from the prying eyes of the censor board. But the backlash and the scrutiny have already started. The web-series is now on the radar of the Union Health Ministry.
According to The Indian Express, the Health Ministry wants to bring online content under the ambit of the anti-tobacco law. As per the guidelines, film certification should indicate if there are smoking scenes in the film and there should be a health scroll before and after the scene. This is applicable to television programmes and films, but there is no provision to regulate online content.
An official of the Health Ministry was quoted as saying, “Currently, sites that stream online content are not required to carry health warnings on tobacco. But after the recent decision to ratify the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) protocol against illicit tobacco trade, we are looking at FCTC provisions dealing with cross-border tobacco advertisements.” The official added that since Netflix and Amazon are US-based companies, they can’t be monitored under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.
According to Live Mint, the Health Ministry had earlier written to the telecom regulator to issue an advisory to all the digital streaming platforms to comply with the anti-tobacco guidelines. The letter also asked for an explanation to the censor board on the “necessity of display of tobacco products or their usage” in films and web-series.
Meanwhile, a 37-year-old Congress worker from Kolkata has filed a case against Sacred Games and its lead Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Rajeev Kumar Sinha, in his complaint, stated that Siddiqui’s character in the series uses abusive language when referring to late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Sinha said that Rajiv Gandhi is referred to as ‘fattu’ and the series misrepresent the facts from that period.