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Director of Amazon’s ‘Tandav’ Cuts Scenes After Pressure From India’s Hindu Nationalists

  • January 23, 2021

“This is a fight against the type of people who hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus,” he said. “They must go behind bars.”

At least three criminal complaints have been filed, including one that accuses the show of promoting hatred between different religions, a serious crime in India. Already investigators in Uttar Pradesh State, run by one of Mr. Modi’s closest allies, have summoned Mr. Zafar to speak to them.

But the true reason for the complaints against “Tandav” may be that the show holds up a mirror uncomfortably close to Indian society and some of the problems blamed on Mr. Modi’s administration. In the opening episode, the show features protesting students and disgruntled farmers, echoing events that have taken place in recent months. (Mr. Zafar has said the show is a work of fiction.)

“Tandav” is just one of many recent productions that have provoked the ire of Hindu nationalists. A journalist filed a criminal complaint this week against the makers of “Mirzapur,” another Amazon web series and the name of a midsize town in northern India. The journalist said the series hurt religious and regional sentiments and defamed the town.

In recent months, similar pressure has been exerted on Netflix. Several of the platform’s productions have come under attack, including a show that featured a Hindu woman kissing a Muslim man, with a Hindu temple in the backdrop, which Hindus denounced as offensive to their beliefs. Hindu nationalists have tried to shut down interfaith marriages, and recent laws in several of India’s states have targeted interfaith couples.

Gaurav Tiwari, an official in the youth wing of the B.J.P. who has filed a complaint against Netflix officials, said the government needed to protect the public from what he described as vulgar and anti-Hindu content.

“People have been murdered for cartoons in other religions, and look at what is happening with ours,” Mr. Tiwari said. “If this continues unabated, what will the future generations of Hindus look back on when they see movies like these?”

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