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Amazon Prime Video Apologises Once Again for ‘Tandav’

A still from 'Tandav' trailer

Amazon Prime Video issued an unconditional apology once again on Tuesday for its controversial Hindi web series Tandav, mentioning that it has edited or removed the scenes that were objectionable.

This came four days after the Allahabad High Court denied anticipatory bail to Aparna Purohit, a top executive of Amazon Prime Video, regarding the ongoing case against the series.

Tandav is a political thriller web series created, directed and produced by Ali Abbas Zafar and scripted by Gaurav Solanki. The series stars Saif Ali Khan, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Sunil GroverDimple KapadiaTigmanshu Dhulia, Dino Morea, Sarah Jane DiasGauahar KhanKritika Kamra, and Anup Soni. The show premiered on Amazon Prime Video on January 15.

What is the case? 

Several cases have been filed against the web series in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi alleging the show of hurting religious sentiments, insulting Hindu gods and goddesses, inciting communal violence, and showcasing a wrong image of the Uttar Pradesh Police.

What are the objectionable scenes according to the prosecutor?

In a scene, a police vehicle is seen hitting the road with the doors open where two actors in police uniform are consuming liquor and abusing. The prosecutor claimed that this scene depicts Uttar Pradesh Police in poor light.

In the scene where the character Shiva Shekhar, played by Ayyub, is seen acting in a college play, the prosecutor alleged the scene insults Hindu gods and goddesses and incites communal sentiments.

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The show is further accused of affecting the country’s democracy for depicting the prime minister’s position in a poor way.

The series is also accused of disrupting public peace by making deliberate references to caste and community, thereby disrespecting the scheduled castes.

Besides the state police, the prosecutor also mentioned that remarks were made against the public administrator and constitutional posts to develop hate between communities.

Referring to another conversation from the scene of Ayyub’s college play, where they talk about college students being called deshdrohi (traitors) chanting slogans of azadi (freedom) not from the country but while living in the country, the court said it “clearly alludes” to the violence in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University that took place during the anti-CAA protests and the protests against fee hike.

Accusing the web series’ makers, actors, and Purohit of deliberately affecting public peace and disrupting social harmony through its scenes and dialogues, the prosecutor mentioned that they did it for making the series controversial and gain publicity. 

Unconditional apology

The apology issued by the streaming platform stated that it “deeply regrets” that certain scenes from the series were objectionable for the audience which was unintentional and so have been edited or removed soon after they were brought to attention.

The makers of the series had previously issued an apology on January 18, three days after the show’s premiere, stating that during a meeting with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, they were made aware of the “grievances and petitions” received regarding the content of the series “hurting the sentiments of the people”.

Mentioning that they have edited or removed the scenes and further stated that they “unconditionally” apologise for the same and that the cast and crew did not intend to “offend any individual, community, caste, race, religion, religious beliefs or insult or outrage any institution, political party or person, living or dead”.

On Tuesday, they again apologised stating that it was “never” their intention and that they “respect our viewers’ diverse beliefs and apologise unconditionally to anyone who felt hurt by these scenes”.

The statement also mentioned that their team acknowledged the need for a constant update in the content evaluation process and will continue to entertain while “complying with the laws of India and respecting the diversity of culture and beliefs of our audiences”.

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