Tandav, Amazon prime’s web series that was launched in January, has been in controversy over its portrayal of Hindu gods and goddesses for some time now. Now, in a first the company has issued an official statement, apologizing for the same. This is a rare occurrence in Amazon prime’s history, which hasn’t faced much trouble over the kind of content it publishes so far. Over this series however, amazon has apologized thrice.
The first two apologies were issued by the series director Ali Abbas Zafaar, after several viewers registered police complaints against Tandav and its team in different parts of India. In his apology he wrote, “The web series 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 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.”
Amazon’s official statement was issued day after Amazon Prime Video’s Content Chief, India, Aparna Purohit’s anticipatory bail plea had been rejected by the Allahabad high court. Aparna is in jail due to the 10 FIRs filed against Amazon for hurting religious sentiment in the web series.
The official statement issued on Tuesday read: “Amazon Prime Video again deeply regrets that viewers considered certain scenes to be objectionable in the recently launched fictional series Tandav. This was never our intention, and the scenes that were objected to were removed or edited when they were brought to our attention. We respect our viewers’ diverse beliefs and apologise unconditionally to anyone who felt hurt by these scenes…Our teams follow company content evaluation processes, which we acknowledge need to be constantly updated to better serve our audiences. We will continue to develop entertaining content with partners, while complying with the laws of India and respecting the diversity of culture and beliefs of our audiences.”
Written by Guarav Solanki and starring Saif Ali Khan, Twinkle Khanna, Sunil Grover etc. Tandav had invited criticism from some of the most influential people in the country, including politicians of the ruling party BJP. Apart from issuing apologies, Amazon has also taken down or edited the controversial scenes. The action has satisfied some but others believe that amazon should have turned a blind eye to such requests. While the company has started investing heavily in India, it is bound to face some hitches because of New Delhi’s new rules for video streaming services and social media firms. The rules entail that these social media firms will have to comply with requests to takedown content which might be seen as unlawful, spreading misinformation or hate within 15 days, and acknowledge them in a day. Amazon is already competing against Hotstar, Netflix etc. in India – which is a major market for all platforms- and now it will have struggle with the new laws and regulations as well to make a profit in the Indian e-market.