In a Netflix series, a Muslim man was seen kissing a Hindu girl inside a temple, prompting the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh to investigate the allegations in India.
Leaders of the BJP and various Hindutva groups in the state have also lodged FIRs against the series, titled ‘A Suitable Boy’.
The allegation that Netflix is promoting ‘anti-Hindu’ content in India has been circulating for some time.
However, many observers believe that the way in which various online platforms, including Netflix, are being controlled in that country is nothing but an interference in the freedom of the industry.
The BBC commissioned a six-episode television drama about Vikram Seth’s famous novel, A Suitable Boy, produced by filmmaker Mira Nair.
After appearing on BBC One in the UK earlier this year, it is now available to viewers in India via Netflix, and the controversy has begun with a few scenes from the series.
Critics say that in a scene in the series, a Muslim youth kisses his girlfriend, a Hindu girl, on the premises of an ancient Hindu temple in the city of Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh – hurting the religious feelings of Hindus.
In the words of Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra, I did not find anything in this series suitable. The kissing scene is being filmed inside the temple, the melody of the hymn is playing behind – I can’t believe it. This could have been done in any other place.
He said, “Apart from that, why are the young men and women of a different religion, a Muslim young man and a Hindu young woman being hurt by unnecessary religious sentiments?” It could have been easily avoided.
The state government said police had been instructed to investigate the allegations and look into what kind of legal action could be taken against the makers of A Suitable Boy.
Meanwhile, Gaurab Tiwari, national secretary of the ruling BJP’s youth wing, has lodged an FIR with the Madhya Pradesh Police against Netflix.
Demanding that those offensive scenes be removed from the series, he also wrote a letter to Netflix asking for an unconditional apology.
Various extremist Hindutva organizations in the state have voiced similar demands.
Chandrashekhar Tiwari, leader of Bhopal’s Sanskriti Bichar Manch, said, “We strongly object to the kissing scene in the film and are also taking steps to file a case against its director-producer and actors-actresses.”
“We will ask all Hindu organizations across the country to join the movement against Netflix,” he said.
Even before this, Netflix has come under attack from Hindutva activists in India due to various series like Laila, Sacred Games etc.
Recently, the BJP government at the Center has taken initiative to bring various online platforms including Netflix under censorship.
However, Madhura Mukherjee, a professor of film studies at Jadavpur University, told the BBC that trying to rush into internet-based entertainment was pointless.
According to Madhura Mukherjee, with the advent of the Internet, all kinds of content are now available, be it pornography or academic work.
He says it doesn’t matter if Netflix or similar platforms are shut down, censored or not. There seems to be no gain in it other than to comfort oneself. Second, I personally don’t think a kissing scene can hurt religious feelings! My religion says that God is everywhere, so you can’t kiss that argument anywhere.
He added that it is true that no one’s religion should be hurt, but it is not possible to make a picture if it hurts us so little! It is not possible to write anything.
Source: BBC Bangla.