MUMBAI (Reuters) – Controversy in India over Amazon’s political drama “Tandav” has put Bollywood and international video streaming giants on edge, prompting a better scrutiny of scripts for potential offence to non secular sentiments in a key development market.
Firms like Amazon’s Prime Video and Netflix are inspecting deliberate reveals and scripts, with some even deleting scenes that could possibly be controversial, 5 Bollywood administrators and producers, and two trade sources stated.
This comes as Amazon Prime Video has turn into embroiled in authorized instances and police complaints alleging “Tandav” depicts Hindu gods and goddesses in a derogatory method and offends non secular beliefs. “Tandav”, a Hindi phrase that means fury, stars high Bollywood actors.
Public outcry over obscenity and spiritual depictions are frequent in culturally delicate India, however the “Tandav” subject snowballed as police questioned Amazon India’s head of authentic content material for Prime Video for hours following official complaints.
Fearing arrest, Aparna Purohit put in an anticipatory bail plea, which was declined by a state courtroom however the Supreme Court docket on Friday gave her safety from arrest.
“Scripts are being learn and re-read now,” stated a producer from Bollywood, India’s Hindi movie trade. “Streaming platforms are vetting content material for something that they see as a crimson flag,” the producer added, declining to be named.
Amazon has determined to delay streaming a brand new season of a well-liked Hindi spy thriller, “The Household Man”, which was to launch final month, 4 of the sources advised Reuters.
The present, Amazon says, is about an Indian intelligence officer’s efforts in his “high-pressure, and low paying job”.
Whereas Amazon declined to remark, one of many sources stated the delay was “a ripple impact of what occurred with Tandav”.
Amazon just lately issued a public apology “to anybody who felt damage” by “Tandav”, saying some objectionable scenes had been eliminated.
India, the world’s second-most populous nation with 1.3 billion individuals, is a precious marketplace for Amazon and its rivals Netflix and Walt Disney Co’s Disney+ Hotstar.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos stated at an occasion final yr that Prime Video was doing effectively globally “however nowhere it’s doing higher than India”.
Netflix has introduced 41 new reveals and movies for 2021 in India, versus round 30 new titles launched in 2020.
‘TOO MUCH RISK’, ARREST FEARS
Not like movies, content material on video streaming platforms at the moment face no censorship in India.
However some lawmakers and supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist get together say sure reveals on Amazon and Netflix promote obscenity or damage non secular beliefs.
A member of the ruling get together’s youth wing has made a police grievance towards Netflix, objecting to scenes within the collection “A Appropriate Boy” displaying a Hindu woman kissing a Muslim boy towards the backdrop of a Hindu temple.
Netflix is carefully monitoring Amazon’s “Tandav” instances, one leisure trade supply stated.
Netflix declined to remark.
One scene from “Tandav” eliminated by Amazon after launch was round a stage play the place an individual performing because the Hindu god Shiva seeks recommendations on methods to enhance his social media following after somebody says Lord Ram was changing into very fashionable on-line.
Revered characters of religion have “been lampooned and portrayed in a really low-cost” manner, the state courtroom choose noticed whereas declining Purohit’s anticipatory bail plea.
The Supreme Court docket, nevertheless, gave her safety from arrest topic to her co-operation within the case.
Her lawyer stated Amazon was prepared to chop extra scenes from “Tandav” if desired.
Among the many greatest fallout of the controversy is the rising concern of arrests. Some producers are asking for clauses of their contracts with streaming companies to guard them from lawsuits.
“It’s simply an excessive amount of of a threat and never definitely worth the headache, particularly if you’re being threatened with jail,” a producer stated.
Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Aditya Kalra and Euan Rocha; Extra reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal and Saurabh Sharma; Enhancing by Himani Sarkar