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Amazon Apologizes for ‘Objectionable’ Scenes in Indian Series ‘Tandav’

Political drama under fire from lawmakers for its depictions of Indian gods

Amazon Prime Video has another apology for certain scenes in the Indian series “Tandav” that some viewers considered “objectionable.” The scenes in question show actors portraying Indian gods.

The statement reads, according to Reuters: “Amazon Prime Video again deeply regrets that viewers considered certain scenes to be objectionable in the recently launched fictional series ‘Tandav.’ This was never our intention, and the scenes that were objected to were removed or edited when they were brought to our attention. We respect our viewers’ diverse beliefs and apologize unconditionally to anyone who felt hurt by these scenes. Our teams follow company content evaluation processes, which we acknowledge need to be constantly updated to better serve our audiences. We will continue to develop entertaining content with partners, while complying with the laws of India and respecting the diversity of culture and beliefs of our audiences.”

TheWrap has reached out to Amazon Prime Video India and will provide updates when we hear back.

“Tandav,” which began streaming Jan. 15, is a political thriller about a “charismatic” leader of a political party who is waiting, impatiently, for his father to retire so he can become Prime Minister. The show’s plot, which also includes an idealistic campus activist, appears to reference the 2019 student uprising, along with other real-world events.

Late last month, India set issues new guidelines for streaming and social media platforms that include religious depictions. “The category classification of a content will take into account the potentially offensive impact of a film on matters such as caste, race, gender, religion, disability or sexuality that may arise in a wide range of works, and the classification decision will take account of the strength or impact of their inclusion,” the guidelines state.

Additionally, the head of Amazon Prime Video India Originals Aparna Purohit remains in legal trouble. Last week, the Allahabad high court denied Purohit’s petition for anticipatory bail, after complaints were filed against her. Purohit argued that “Tandav” was a work of fiction and that she did not intend to offend the religious community.

“Western filmmakers have refrained from ridiculing Lord Jesus or the Prophet but Hindi filmmakers have done this repeatedly and are still doing this most unabashedly with Hindu gods and goddesses,” the court said. “The fact remains that the applicant had not been vigilant and has acted irresponsibly making her open to criminal prosecution in permitting streaming of a movie which is against the fundamental rights of the majority of citizens of this country.”

The “cast and crew” apologized in mid-January via a statement on series creator Ali Abbas Zafar’s Instagram page.

That statement read:

“We have been closely monitoring viewer reactions to the web series ‘Tandav’ and today during a discussion, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting have informed us regarding a large number of grievances and petitions received on various facets of the web series with serious concerns and apprehensions regarding its content hurting the sentiments of the people.”

“The web series ‘Tandav’ is a work of fiction and any resemblance to acts and persons and events is purely coincidental. The cast and crew did not have any intention to offend the sentiments of any individual, caste, community, race, religion or religious belief or insult or outrage any institution, political party or person, living or dead. The cast and crew of ‘Tandav’ take cognizance of the concerns expressed by the people and unconditionally apologize if it has unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments.”