Amazon’s Pataal Lok Faces Anger Due To Religious Reasons; Regulation of OTT Debate Triggered?
Why The Fuss?
Earlier, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap on Twitter declared the web-series as “The best crime thriller to come out of the nation.”
It is produced by actor Anushka Sharma’s Clean Slate Films, the web-series has found its share of criticism on social media platforms with netizens accusing it of portraying and encouraging ‘Hinduphobic’ content.
While the founder and managing director, House of Cheers, Raj Nayak said that one should not read too much into the situation.
He said “There are people who like their two minutes of fame and want to create some controversy. The same thing happened with the film Padmavat. These are diversions and as a country, we should now only be focussed in addressing the pandemic and the economy. We shouldn’t be wasting our time on frivolous issues and definitely not infringe in the creative freedom of producers,”.
At the same time, some twitter users showed their unhappiness while tweeting on the subject.
What About The Political Parties?
Apart from the twitter, earlier BJP MLA Nandkishor Gurjar had filed an FIR against Anushka Sharma on grounds of sedition and urged her husband Virat Kohli to divorce her for producing such content.
While, the Bharatiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh, the youth wing of Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh had also objected to the racist slurs and racist stereotyping of Northeast people, in particular the Gorkhas.
On the other hand, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, president, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee had also expressed discontent at a scene where a Sikh man was shown raping a woman while another Sikh man watches in despair.
Also, he tagged Union Minister Prakash Javedkar on Twitter and urged him to take strong action against the series for showing Sikhs as rapists.
It’s Not The First Time
In reality, this is not the first time that an Indian web-series has drawn ire for demeaning Hindu culture.
Prior to this, last year, a member of the Shiv Sena IT Cell had filed a police complaint against Netflix alleging that the US-based online streaming service is “defaming Hindus and India” through shows hosted on its platform.
This incident took place after a slew of Indian web-series such as Sacred Games, Leila and Ghoul were released on the platform.
After this, Amazon Prime’s The Family Man starring Manoj Bajpayee also faced flak by The Panchajanya, a publication affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), for establishing a narrative which created sympathy for terrorists.
Apart from this, ZEE5’s Code M failed to escape the thrashing and was accused of showing the Indian Army indulging in nepotism, casteism, corruption, murders and fake encounters targeting a particular community.
The brand expert, Harish Bijoor, stated, “OTT is meant to be a niche platform as opposed to any mass media of any kind, allowing it to accept standards which are different from mass media. However, when OTT becomes as popular as mass media does, then it needs to be more responsible and need to look at self-censorship,”.
Why The Movement?
Now, with #BoycottPaatalLok netizens are once again urging the government to step in and censor OTT content.
Although, this time, it’s not because of nudity and expletives, but because of showing content which spreads ‘Hinduphobia’.
While investor and business strategist, Lloyd Mathias believes that creative professions must be allowed their freedom within the limits of the law.
He said “To use sections of the serials to target the web-series and attribute motives to them is the work of misguided elements. If one finds a serial not in consonance with one’s beliefs, they are welcome to skip it. To ask for a ban is unfairly assuming a moral authority over others,”.
So far, the video streaming industry follows is self-regulated when it comes to content.
Before this, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) launched the ‘Code for Self-Regulation of Online Curated Content Providers’ on February 5, 2020.
Basically, the code was backed by platforms such as Hotstar, Voot, Jio and SonyLiv.