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Tandav filmmakers issue “unconditional apology” after UP FIR

Soon after an array of petitions came in from various people across the country over the new web series of Amazon Prime Video, ‘Tandav’ along with the I&M ministry’s questioning, the cast, and crew of the film issued an “unconditional apology” for hurting the sentiments of the petitioners as it wasn’t their intention to do so.

The filmmakers also directed at the disclaimer that is often seen alongside every movie, announcing the story to be a “work of fiction”, unless specified a real-life adaptation. They added the industry standard statement that says “any resemblance to acts and persons and events is purely coincidental”.

“‘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 beliefs or insult or outrage any institution, political party or person, living or dead,” read the official statement.

The apology was released on Monday evening after a key aide of the UP government of Yogi Adityanath, media advisor Shalabh Mani Tripathi, warned the makers that they will pay the price for “insulting Hindu gods and goddesses”.

He underlined that the “UP Police has left in their vehicle”, referring to the Vikas Dubey encounter and the end he had met. He also tagged Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in his tweet while saying that he hopes the CM won’t come to save the accused.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also jumped into the controversy and said, “Nobody has the right to disrespect our gods and goddesses… need to keep a strict eye on OTT platforms as they are showing vulgar content.”

The I&B Ministry after learning about the incident and sought a response from Amazon Prime that led to the statement, which started as, “…today during a discussion, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting informed (of) a large number of grievances and petitions… serious concerns and apprehensions regarding its content hurting the sentiments of the people.”

“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,” it added.

‘Tandav’, which features Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Guahar Khan, and others, released its first episode on Friday. It soon became the talk of the town and led to the registration of dozens of petitions.

An Uttar Pradesh cop also filed a petition as he said the beginning 17 minutes of the first episode itself showed “people dressed up in a very bad manner to represent Hindu gods and goddesses… shown to speak in a very uncalled for language… that hurts religious sentiments.”

Besides the makers of the web series ‘Tandav’, the FIR also names Amazon Prime’s India head of original content Aparna Purohit, producer Himanshu Krishna Mehra, and another unnamed person. Amazon Prime is the digital platform on which the web series was released. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Central Zone informed that a police team from Hazratganj will leave for Mumbai to investigate the case. Those named in the FIR will be interrogated on Monday.

Charges pressed in the FIR included promoting enmity between different communities on grounds of religion, race or place of birth; destruction, damage, or defilement of a religious place or an object held sacred; harming reputation by forgery, statements conducing to public mischief, with intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India, or to strike terror in the people or any section of the people.

The FIR mentioned that there are angry outbursts on social media platforms against the content of the web series and people are posting its clippings. The FIR stated that in the 17th minute of Episode 1, characters depicting Hindu gods and goddesses have been shown in an uncharitable way and using undignified language which can hurt religious sentiments. Further, efforts have been made to ignite caste clashes in the 22nd minute of the same episode.

One of the complainants also alleged that the Prime Minister of the country has been depicted in a very derogatory manner throughout the web series. He has alleged in his FIR that the web series, which was released on January 16, has tried to destroy the social fabric of the country to create tension.

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