Tandav webseries was released on 15th January 2021 on Amazon Prime and one of the Amazon Original content. This web series is a directorial debut of Ali Abbas Zafar. Ali Abbas Zafar is known for directing famous films like Sultan in 2016, Tiger Zinda Hai in 2017 and Bharat in 2019.
Tandav is a story that happens in our capital of India, i.e. Delhi where it takes you inside the closed chaotic doors of power and manipulation and uncover the darkest lanes of Indian politics. This series has 9 episodes and stars the famous Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub, Sunil Grover, Gauhar Khan, Kumud Mishra, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Anup Soni, Sarah Jane Dias, Neha Hinge, Kritika Kamra, Dino Morea, Sandhya Mridul, Shonali Nagrani, Amyra Dastur, Hiten Tejwani and many others. The IMDb users have rated this series 3.8 out of 10, which means its average rating.
The series has landed itself into a controversy as several leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party called for its ban on hurting the sentiments against the Hindu community. Soon after the release, Tandav faced a backlash from a certain section of society for provoking communal disharmony over a scene from the first episode. Not only this, more than three FIRs have been registered against the makers as well as the star cast for hurting Hindu sentiments in over 6 cities.
A scene in the 1st episode of Tandav features actor Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub performing a college play. The scene shows him wearing a pantsuit, holding a ‘damroo’ and saying “What the F***.” Protestors feel the sequence insults the Hindu deity Shiv which has caused an outroar in over 6 cities. The next day of the release of Tandav, viewers took to Twitter to demand a ban on the series. ‘#BanTandavNow’ started trending on Twitter. Soon after the backlash, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry issued a notice to Amazon Prime, seeking its response to the complaints against the web series. A criminal complaint has been filed before a Delhi court seeking action against OTT platform Amazon Prime and the makers of the web series including Ali Abbas Zafar (director), Aparna Purohit (head, India Amazon original contents), Himanshu Krishna Mehra (producer), Gaurav Solanki (writer), Saif Ali Khan (actor), Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub (actor) and Gauhar Khan (actor) as accused. The complaint filed under Section 200 of the CrPC seeks summoning, commencing trial and punishing the accused persons alleging that the web series is provoking communal disharmony and is hurting the sentiments of Hindus.
Ali Abbas Zafar then issued an apology on behalf of the cast and crew saying they did not intend to offend anyone or insult any religion and political party. In the statement, Ali shared that they have been closely monitoring the row, and stressed that the series is a complete work of fiction.
Many stars have taken to the social media to take legal action against the makers of the series, Kangana Ranaut, Payal Rohatgi. Political leaders like Mayawati, Kapil Mishra have also condemned this act.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Hindu Jangran Manch activists have lodged a strong protest against Tandav makers and actors demanding a case to be registered under the stringent National Security Act (NSA).
Kangana Ranaut says ,”the problem isn’t just the Hindu phobic content, it’s also creatively poor and deprived,atrocious and objectionable on every level hence deliberately placed controversial scenes. Put them in jail not just for criminal intentions but also for torturing the viewer #tandavwebseries”.
Earlier few of the web series which were in mids of a controversy were Netflix ‘A Suitable Boy’, based on Vikram Seth’s bestselling novel, attracted the ire of the right wing for a scene showing a Muslim man and a Hindu girl kissing in the backdrop of a temple. Before that was Amazon’s Pataal Lok that got into trouble for its depiction of communal issues, and Leila, which was called ‘Anti Hindu’ for depicting the dystopian future of Aryavarta where purity of blood is enforced.
Due to this the makers will have to remove the content at the earliest and upload the new version.
The government recently brought OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar, besides other online news and current affairs content, under the limits of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, giving it powers to regulate policies and rules for the digital space.
What I believe is that in future a strict censorship regulator is required so these issues will be avoidable and things will be in much control.