Mirzapur 2, the Amazon Prime Video web series starring Pankaj Tripathi, landed in trouble after the Supreme Court on Thursday sought a response from its makers and the streaming platform after a petitioner accused the series of tarnishing the image of Mirzapur city.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde, issued a notice to Amazon Prime Video, Central government and the producer of the show, Excel Entertainment.
The petitioner, Sujeet Kumar Singh, accused the web series of portraying Mirzapur as “a city of goons and adulterers ignoring all historical and cultural history” of the city. Sujeet Kumar Singh, who hails from Pasaiya village, filed a writ petition urging the court to set up a “pre-screening” committee to regulate content on OTT platforms.
“It [pre-screening committee] might not show the historical and cultural value but it also put some barrier showing any city in any movie with any abusive and vulgar language, of obscene material. When we go to the cinemas, there are no such scenes because of that regulatory authority. So, we just felt that there should be a regulatory authority so that the content is monitored,” Rudra Vikram Singh, younger brother of the petitioner and his lawyer, told Silverscreen India.
The petition stated that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting should “make certification mandatory from government authority before releasing any web series, film, or other program on online platform.”
While the sequel to the 2018 series Mirzapur released in October 2020, the petition was filed on September 22, seeking a ban on the release.
“The series has already released and consumed by the public. Nothing can be done about that but now, our main motive is to make sure that the third season does not come out,” Rudra Vikram Singh added.
The PIL sought an inquiry against the actors of the web series under the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, Cinematograph Act, and the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Calling the show “obscene and vulgar”, the petition stated that the series not only promotes pornography, but also “has raised a finger on the relation of daughter-in-law and father-in-law”.
Meanwhile, an FIR was filed on Sunday by journalist Arvind Chaturvedi alleging that the show promoted social enmity and hurt religious sentiments of the people of Mirzapur.
Both complaints stated that the city had religious importance and was the sacred pilgrim of goddess Vidhyavaasini and home to the Vindhyachal temple, which is also one of the 108 Shakti Peeths in India. While Chaturvedi’s complaint focused more on the religious importance of the place, Sujeet Kumar Singh’s petition focused on the lesser known facts about the district.
Interestingly, Sujeet Kumar Singh’s petition mentioned that Mirzapur was India’s base for calculating the Indian Standard Time. The Indian documentary Smile Pinki, that won an Academy Award for the Best Documentary Film in 2009, was also based in Mirzapur. The film revolved around a girl named Pinki, who had a cleft lip, and how a surgery transformed her life.
Rudra Vikram Singh said that the next hearing has been scheduled for March 8.
In 2020, all OTT platforms were brought under the purview of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting after the platforms failed to sign a self-regulatory notice sent to them in February 2020. The notice, however, made no mention of censorship or the procedure of regulation of content.