The cast and crew of Amazon Prime Videos’ “Tandav”, against whom police complaints have been filed alleging that some scenes had “insulted Hindu gods and goddesses”, issued an “unconditional” apology Monday evening, saying they did not intend to offend religious beliefs or sentiments.
They also referred to parts of a disclaimer that is an industry standard that said “Tandav” was a “work of fiction” and that “any resemblance to acts and persons and events is purely coincidental”.
“‘Tandav’ is a work of fiction and any resemblance to acts and persons and events is purely coincidental. The cast and crew did not have any intention to 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,” the statement said.
“The cast and crew of ‘Tandav’ take cognizance of the concerns expressed by the people and unconditionally apologize if it has unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments,” it added.
The web series, which stars Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, and was released Friday, quickly triggered outrage over scenes that allegedly disrespect Lord Shiva.
A number of Twitter users and BJP leaders have hit out at the cast and crew, and Amazon Prime Video, demanding that the scenes be deleted and the director and actors issue an apology.
Earlier today a key aide of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath issued an open warning after a complaint was filed at Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station.
“Be prepared to pay the price for hurting religious sentiments… UP Police has left for Mumbai in a vehicle,” chief minister’s media advisor Shalabh Mani Tripathi tweeted in Hindi tagging its director Ali Abbas Zafar, producer Himanshu Mehra, writer Gaurav Solanki, and actors Saif Ali Khan and Zeeshan Ayub.
The mention of a vehicle was seen as alluding to the controversial encounter of gangster Vikas Dubey by the UP Police last year.
Mr Tripathi also tagged the office of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, saying “… hope you will not come to their rescue”.
On Sunday a BJP MLA from Maharashtra demanded that scenes he said mocked Lord Shiva be deleted and that Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, one of the actors in the series, apologise.
Maharashtra BJP MP Manoj Kotak also wrote to Mr Javadekar, asking for regulation of OTTs like Prime Video that he said were “full of sex, violence, drugs, abuse and hate (and) sometimes also hurt sentiments of Hindus…”
Meanwhile, the protests against the alleged misrepresentation of Hindu gods have led to a political row, with opposition parties questioning the outrage.
Bihar ally JD(U)’s principal general secretary KC Tyagi said politicians and officials cannot decide the content of any film. He added that superstar Amitabh Bachchan – a known supporter of the ruling party – has challenged Shiva in his films multiple times saying he does not believe in the god.
In UP, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said the BJP was doing “tandav (dance of destruction) on Tandav” because they want to deflect attention from the farmers’ protest around Delhi. “The farmers are being dubbed terrorists and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is summoning them. What is all this?” he said.