Following A second meeting with the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Tuesday, the makers of Tandav said they had decided to drop certain scenes from the Amazon Prime Video web series. In a statement announcing the same, the makers thanked the ministry for its ”guidance” on the issue.
The makers of the political drama, along with representatives of Amazon Prime Video, had been called for the second video-conference meeting by the I&B Ministry after they were asked to explain their stand on Monday, on the number of complaints the ministry said it had received.
The show’s director, Ali Abbas Zafar, who was present for both meetings as per sources, tweeted on Tuesday evening that they will make changes to ”address the concerns raised”. He said,” The cast & crew of Tandav have made the decision to implement the changes to the web series to address the concerns raised towards the same. We thank the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for the guidance & support in the matter. We once again apologize if the series has unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments.”
He added,” We have the utmost respect for the sentiments of the people of our country. We did not intend to hurt or 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.”
This was the second statement in as many days from him. Along with producer Himanshu Mehra, Zafar had said on Monday that Tandav was ”a work of fiction” and that they ”unconditionally apologize if it has unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments”. They had added, ”we have been closely monitoring viewer reactions to the web series ‘Tandav’ and today during a discussion, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting informed us regarding a large number of grievances and petitions received on various facets of the web series with serious concerns and apprehensions regarding its content hurting the sentiments of people.”
A nine-episode political thriller that started streaming last week, Tandav stars Bollywood A-listers Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub.
On Tuesday, there were calls from several BJP leaders for action against Tandav, with PTI reporting that Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij demanded that the show be removed from the digital platform and urging the government to make provision for censoring web series before they are screened. As per a PTI report, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said they will file a case against Tandav makers, adding, ”I condemn the way Zeeshan Ayyub, Saif Ali Khan, and Ali Abbas Zafar reacted to our religion and hurt sentiments.”
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In Uttar Pradesh, a third FIR was filed against the series, including charges under the SC/ST Act and the Information Technology Act, against Ali Abbas Zafar, producer Himanshu Mehra, Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, writer Gaurav Solanki and Amazon Prime’s India head Aparna Purohit.
Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad chief Mahant Narendra Giri claimed the apology of the cast and crew came only after UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath frowned upon the incident and a police team from the state went to arrest Ali Abbas Zafar following an FIR.
Rejecting the apology, and calling the ”disrespect” to Hindu sentiments ”intentionally”, Giri demanded, ”Jitney bhi Muslim nirdeshak hai, aur jitney bhi Muslim hero hai, yadi wo likhit roop se Jahan hain Apne saksham Adhikari ke pass Ek likhit affidavit pesh Karen ki Dobara Aisi galti hum log nahin karenge, kisi bhi Sanatan parampara ke Devi devta ko hum apattijanak nahin dikhayenge, tab ye baat banti hain (Only if all the Muslim directors and heroes give a written affidavit to the office of their concerned area saying they will not repeat this mistake, and that they will never show anything objectionable about Sanatan deities, only then this can be made right).”