Criminal Law

Tandav – A Controversy

By Amit Sheoran (SLS, Nagpur)

Introduction

Today’s era is the era of science and technology by which we can collect every information about the world by the various online platform with a single click. There are various online platforms by which we will represent our thoughts and can also listen to the thought of people. As a result of increasing technology movie industry make its own identity within the eyes of individuals. We listen that various movies that make their interest in people by various action and character while some face opposition. But a number of the films are proved as very knowledgeable while some are proved bad and also faced controversy thanks to some reason. Like, a recently released web series was in controversy referred to as the “Tandav web series”. OTT is help us by providing the update regarding the recently launched movies. At the time of lockdown when everybody is inside their houses and becoming bored, this platform emerged as an excellent source of entertainment for the peoples.  There are various OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Voot, Disney Hotstar, etc.

About press council and OTT

The  Press Council of India takes care of the medium of the country and said that each movie in India is going to be certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). But Ott isn’t applicable in India. On 15 October 2020 Supreme Court issued a Notice to the Centre to manage OTT platforms in India after PIL filled on this. A notification issued and signed by President Ram Nath Kovind stated that online films and digital news will come under the knowledge and Broadcast Ministry, but there was no clarity by the govt on the regulation on the OTT platform content that whether it’ll give entry of allowing the content before releasing it before the web mode.

Controversy faced

Tandav may be considered as like, it’s a  political drama that is showing the dark side of politics that’s being criticized by people and creates the strain between the people on the idea of religions and caste which destroy the social fabric of our country.  The scene was showing the Hindu god in a very strange and amazing way and using undignified language which affects the religious sentiment of the Hindu religion. It also has some statements and dialogues which created the behavior of enmity between the people based on their caste and religions. It showed the  Position of democratic government In such a way that affects the democratic system of our country.

Tandav web series faced a lot of controversy as a result a large number of  FIR were registered at various police headquarters like Rabupura police headquarters, Noida, Uttar Pradesh against the manufacturers of web series Tandav for showing the inciting communal harmony, hurting religious sentiment, and allegedly showing Uttar Pradesh police during a bad light. Earlier an FIR was registered at Lucknow Hazaratganj kotwal, 2 new FIRs were registered in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, and Mumbai, Maharashtra. of these FIRs are filed against the top of Amazon Prime India, Aparna Purohit. The director of the Tandav web series was Ali Abbas Zafar, the Producer was Himanshu Krishna Mehra, the writer was Gaurav Solanki, and therefore the actor’s Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Sunil Grover, Gauhar Khan, and several actors who are playing various roles during this web series. The Bombay supreme court granted pre-arrest bail to Director Ali Abbas Zafar, Producer Himanshu Krishna Mehra, Amazon Prime Head Aparna Purohit, and therefore the show’s writer Gaurav Solanki. The relief granted them for 3 weeks so that they will enable and approach the concerned Court of Lucknow. Many well-known political leaders from different parties like, Manoj Kotak ( BJP), Ram Kadam (MLA) of Maharashtra, BJP leader Kapil Mishra, Former Chief Minister of U.P. Mayawati, and many more that raised objections towards this Tandav web series. 

Rules of Law Violated

There are many rules of law violated as a result, The FIRs were filed under various Section of IPC like as 153-A, 295A, 505(1)(b), 505(2) and 496, etc. a number of these sections are discussed below:-  

Section 153-A:- This section of IPC deals with those offenses which are promoting or attempt to promote Disharmony, enmity, or feelings of hatred between different groups of society on the idea of faith, race, place of birth, residence, language, and like that.

Section 295A:- This section of IPC allows or has the provisions of punishing any those people that attempt to do or do deliberate and malicious acts that are intended to insult the faith or religious beliefs of certain religious beliefs of a certain class of the citizen.

Section 469:-This section contains the supply for punishment for the forgery which is completed to harm the reputation of a person or organization with the knowledge that this act is sufficient to harm the reputation and property of the opposite party.

Various statements and dialogues were utilized in the series which is contended to steer to social disharmony and may excite people to fight on the idea of faith within the country and also affected the social fabric of the country in a bad manner this falls under the Section 153A of IPC. The most important issue is that it tries to depicting the Hindu God in an uncharitable manner and also showing undignified words to the people and that fall under Section 295A. They also tried to portrait the god in such a manner that unacceptably in the society and it falls under section 469 of IPC. 

Besides these sections, it also violated the varied section like sections 66, 66f, and 67 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008. Thousands of workers and social activists staged a dharna and demonstration at Jantar Mantar in Delhi and at other places to oppose the Tandav Web series, asked to arrest the author and director of the Tandav web series. This demonstration was led by various leaders just like the former Union Minister and Delhi BJP President Vijay Goel. Ali Abbas Zafar also tendered an unconditional apology from the people by tweeting that, “We respect the emotions of the people of the country. We didn’t want to harm or offend the emotions of a person on the idea of caste, community, race, religious beliefs or insult or outrage any institution, party, or persons living or dead. The cast and crew of Tandav had chosen to implement the changes within the web series by addressing the concerns that were raised for an equivalent. We thank the Ministry of data and Broadcasting for the making guidance and support of the people against the Tandav web series.  And also said we once more apologies for the series that hurt anybody’s sentiments.” 

Digital platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc. can have their own rules of censorship as per the viewers of the state so that they need the power to ban any information which may be obscene, indecent or a threat to the safety of the state. This method of self-censorship can become simpler if the digital platforms have a mechanism of the grievances redressal where they’re going to have a fanatical team that helps by working for the complaints about the bulk over a problem on their content. The content shown serially like Tandav must be authentic if they’re trying to point out such sensitive issues. There should an extent on these platforms where these sentimental issues are fixing any film or web series. In today’s time, OTT platforms have become a sort of business for various platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. The Ministry of data and Broadcasting should take an initiative and make some decisions to stop these sorts of activities, there should be screening before releasing it on any theater or any platform so that this controversy won’t happen. By these controversies there’ll be a wrong image will present Infront the country about not only of the actors performing within the series but there’ll be a negative image are going to be presented with the administrators, writers and therefore the way of writing or the storyline presented. society can indeed develop by the free exchange of ideas which is that the main motto and recognition factor of the OTT but the content on the OTT can affect the views of individuals and even the liberty of speech and expression has reasonable restrictions then how OTT is often left completely liberal to show whatever they need. In my opinion, there should be sure grounds to possess a check on the content shown on OTT like the authenticity of the content.

Conclusion

In this case, the manufacturers of Amazon Prime Video have removed the controversial scene from the web series after meeting with the Union Ministry of data and Broadcasting Officials. The deleted scene was showing that Lord Shiva holding a Trishul at a university theater festival within the first episode of the series and this role is played by Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub . One of the actor’s talks about the character of social media amplifies it by posting the tweet frequently. This is often followed by the contentious ‘Azaadi’ chants by the audience member. This will provide the right balance between censorship and the right to speak freely to the OTT because the government isn’t needed to directly censor the content.  The digital platforms on the idea of the certain provisions can make their content and can fulfill the requirements of the purchasers by holding the protection of speech and expression. It confines the view of the govt. answerability to its citizens and also have technical advancements. Society will be developed by the free exchange of their ideas that are the main motto and recognition of the OTT platforms but the content on the OTT can also affect the views of individuals and even the liberty of speech and expression.  OTT is often left completely liberal to show whatever they need but it should not affect the view of society. In my opinion, there should be grounds to check the content which are shown on OTT like the authenticity of the content. The content shown serially like Tandav must be authentic if they’re trying to point out such sensitive issues.

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