A first information report has been filed against the web series Tandav, which has been written by Ali Abbas Zafar and stars, among others, Saif Ali Khan and Dimple Kapadia.
Late on Sunday night, an FIR was filed at Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station. This is the second one against the series, which premièred on January 15.
The FIR in Lucknow has been filed against Aparna Purohit, the head of India original content, Amazon; Ali Abbas the director; Himanshu Krishna Mehra, the producer; Gaurav Solanki, the writer, and unknown persons.
It raises objection to a scene that appears in the 17th minute of the first episode of the series. “Hindu gods and goddesses have been presented in an extremely vitriolic form; they are shown speaking in an extremely undignified manner and extremely poor-quality language has been used, which is to incite religious sentiments,” states the complaint. In the same episode, it marks out minute 22 for dialogues that can incite caste anger. The series is also criticised for portraying the high office of the prime minister in derogatory terms and for scenes that paint castes as high and low and for insulting women.
“The web series is promoting caste animosity,” says the complaint filed by one Amar Nath Yadav. The sections mentioned in the FIR are 153-A, 295, 505(1)(b), 505(2) and 469 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Sections 66, 66F and 67 of the Information Technology Act have also been applied.
BJP’s MLA Ram Kadam had also filed a complaint at Ghatkopar police station in Mumbai against the series for insulting Hindu gods. He had said, “Strict action should be taken against the actor, director and producer of the web series.”
Another party MP, Manoj Kotak, wrote to Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar, requesting a ban on Tandav.
Tandav had opened to mixed reviews by critics and viewers. Social media has also been abuzz with calls to ban the series. #BanTandavNow and #BoycottBollywood have been popular hashtags.
Those who have watched it have described it variously as “slow”, “nonchalant” and “predictable”. Watchers had also foretold that the show was likely to cause huge controversy.
Critics have also been unkind to the show, though the performances of its actors have been more uniformly praised.