Actor Saif Ali Khan headlines Ali Abbas Zafar’s web show Tandav.(HT_PRINT)
Actor Saif Ali Khan headlines Ali Abbas Zafar’s web show Tandav.(HT_PRINT)

Tandav row: All the controversies that have plagued Saif Ali Khan's Amazon show

  • As the Supreme Court refused to grant protection to the makers of Tandav, here are all the controversies that have plagued the Amazon Prime Video political drama, created by Ali Abbas Zafar and starring Saif Ali Khan.
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 07:44 PM IST

The pressure continues to mount for the makers of Tandav, who were not given relief over criminal cases lodged against them in multiple states. The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to grant the makers' request for interim protection.

Multiple FIRs against the series’ director, producer, writer, actors and Amazon India Originals’ head Aparna Purohit, have been filed in six states. The makers of the web series are facing criminal cases for hurting religious sentiments and insulting religion punishable under sections 153A and 295 of the Indian Penal Code. The bench observed, “Your right to freedom of speech is not absolute. You cannot play the role of a character that hurts the sentiments of a community.”

Tandav, a nine-episode political drama on Amazon Prime Video, is created by Ali Abbas Zafar and stars Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Gauahar Khan, and others. It was released on January 15.

Here's a rundown of all that has transpired in the case:

The contentious scene

At the heart of the controversy is a scene in the first episode of the series. In it, actor Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub plays Lord Shiva in a stage play, and says, "Azaadi, what the...?" In the same scene, the narrator on stage tells Lord Shiva that he needs to do something to improve his popularity on social media as Lord Ram's popularity is gaining. Shiva asks whether he should come up with a new display picture.

The complaints

Bharatiya Janata Party MP Manoj Kotak wrote to Information and Broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar seeking a ban on the series for allegedly ridiculing Hindu deities. “Different organisations and individuals have complained that Hindu Gods and Goddesses have been ridiculed in Tandav web series. Comments have been passed about them,” Kotak said.

MLA Ram Kadam in Maharashtra had tweeted demanding the removal of the part allegedly mocking Lord Shiva and an apology from actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub. "Tandava will be boycotted until necessary changes are made. #BanTandavNow," he had tweeted. "Just as there is a system of censors for reviewing films and serials, a similar arrangement should be made to review series on the OTT platform. Writing to @PrakashJavdekar ji," he also tweeted in Hindi.

BJP leader Kapil Mishra alleged that Tandav is "anti-Dalit and full of communal hatred against Hindus". He also requested people in the same tweet to write to Prakash Javadekar appealing for a ban on the web series.

Former UP chief minister, Mayawati, wrote in a tweet that in the interest of 'peace and harmony' the objectionable scene should be removed from the series.

The fallout

Police personnel were spotted stationed outside Saif and Kareena Kapoor's home in Mumbai.

The I&B ministry sought an explanation from Amazon Prime after the controversy broke out. “The ministry has called executives of the video streaming service and decided to seek an explanation from them over the matter,” an official said.

Officials from Amazon Prime Video told news agency PTI that the platform “won’t be responding” to media queries on the matter.

An FIR was registered against Aparna Purohit, creator Ali, producer Himanshu Krishna Mehra, writer Gaurav Solanki and others at the Hazratganj police station of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow deputy commissioner of police (Central) Somen Barma said.

In Madhya Pradesh, an FIR was filed against the makers by a little-known religious outfit.

The apology

"Our sincere apologies," Ali wrote in a social media post on Monday, on behalf of the cast and crew. "We have been closely monitoring viewer reactions to the web series Tandav and today during a discussion, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has 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 the people," the statement read.

It continued, "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."

The action taken

Ali issued another statement following the apology, announcing that the cast and crew had decided to 'implement changes'.

“We have 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. The cast & crew of Tandav have made the decision to implement 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,” read the statement.

Several contentious scenes were altered. The college play scene was removed. Viewers now see Zeeshan's entry on stage as Mahadev amid cheers from the audience and the scene then abruptly shifts to police entering the campus to arrest a student.

Also gone is a conversation depicting prime minister Devki Nandan Singh, played by Tigmanshu Dhulia, insulting Dalit leader Kailash Kumar, enacted by Annup Sonii. There have been other changes in the series as well. A dialogue referencing caste between Soni’s character and Sandhya Mridul’s character Sandhya has been shortened.

The future

The controversy comes at a time when the censorship of streaming platforms is being debated. Outrage was previously expressed upon the release of streaming releases Sacred Games and Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl.

In November, the Union government brought streaming video services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar, and news websites under the ambit of the Information & Broadcasting ministry for regulation, issuing a notification that will now allow the latter to draft rules that could have a far-reaching impact on popular channels of digital content.

Ali confirmed in an interview to Mid-Day that he has completed writing the second season of the show, despite no official confirmation by Amazon. "During the lockdown, I sat in my Dehradun home for five months and kept writing. We have already developed the script for the second season, and hopefully, it will go on floors soon,” he said.


Follow @htshowbiz for more

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON

Related Stories

Pankaj Tripathi in a still from Mirzapur.
Pankaj Tripathi in a still from Mirzapur.

Amid Tandav row, BJP MP Vinod Sonkar demands action against makers of Mirzapur

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 02:49 PM IST
Amid the controversy on Tandav, BJP Secretary and Lok Sabha MP from Kaushambi in Uttar Pradesh, Vinod Sonkar, has demanded action on the makers of the Mirzapur web series.
Saif Ali Khan plays the lead in Tandav. Multiple police cases have been filed against him and other crew members of the show.
Saif Ali Khan plays the lead in Tandav. Multiple police cases have been filed against him and other crew members of the show.

Tandav row: Two scenes axed as fresh FIRs are filed, here are details of cuts

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 06:16 PM IST
At least two scenes have been removed from the controversial web series, Tandav, and a conversation has been trimmed. Details inside.
Close
Varanasi-girl Vindhya Tiwari recently shot for ‘Game of the Sexes’ in Moradabad. (Sourced photo)
Varanasi-girl Vindhya Tiwari recently shot for ‘Game of the Sexes’ in Moradabad. (Sourced photo)

Vindhya Tiwari: I hope this year takes me to the next level

By Deep Saxena
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 08:59 PM IST
The year 2021 is turning out be the best phase for actor Vindhya Tiwari. Her track in the TV show ‘Vighnaharta Ganesh’ got aired recently then the UPite shot for her first OTT series ‘Game of the Sexes’ in Moradabad and next, she is soon expected to make her film debut.
Close
Evan Peters as Quicksilver in WandaVision.
Evan Peters as Quicksilver in WandaVision.

WandaVision: Kevin Feige on bringing in Evan Peters as Pietro instead of Aaron

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 01:37 PM IST
  • WandaVision left fans stunned when they introduced Evan Peters as Pietro instead of bringing back Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige weighs in on the recasting.
Close
Rumana Molla recently wrapped OTT series ‘Games of Sexes’ in Moradabad (Sourced photo)
Rumana Molla recently wrapped OTT series ‘Games of Sexes’ in Moradabad (Sourced photo)

Rumana Molla: I always want to give my best shot

By Deep Saxena
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 12:37 AM IST
Actor Rumana Molla has featured in number of projects including ‘Pyar Ka Panchnama2’, ‘Irada’ and ‘DevDD’. Recently, she wrapped OTT series ‘Games of Sexes’ in Moradabad, in which she plays a central character.
Close
Tandav stars Saif Ali Khan and Dimple Kapadia in prominent roles.
Tandav stars Saif Ali Khan and Dimple Kapadia in prominent roles.

Tandav: Top Amazon India executive questioned by police over Saif Ali Khan show

Reuters
UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2021 09:17 PM IST
Top Amazon India executive questioned by police over Tandav.
Close
Cast member Gina Carano poses at the premiere for the television series "The Mandalorian" in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 13, 2019. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni(REUTERS)
Cast member Gina Carano poses at the premiere for the television series "The Mandalorian" in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 13, 2019. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni(REUTERS)

Gina Carano addresses The Mandalorian firing, says she was 'bullied' by Disney

ANI
UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2021 11:17 AM IST
Actor Gina Carano, who was fired from the hit drama series The Mandalorian over inflammatory social media posts, recently opened up about it, calling out Disney for 'bullying' her.
Close
‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ and ‘Bandish Bandits’ actor recently shot OTT series ‘Hastinapur’ and film ‘Satyamev Jayate2’ in Lucknow (Sourced photo)
‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ and ‘Bandish Bandits’ actor recently shot OTT series ‘Hastinapur’ and film ‘Satyamev Jayate2’ in Lucknow (Sourced photo)

‘Changing my looks, quitting TV worked for me’

By Deep Saxena
PUBLISHED ON FEB 22, 2021 06:55 PM IST
The decision of leaving TV after 25 years worked wonders for ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ actor Rituraj K Singh.
Close
Abhishek Banerjee is best known for his roles in film Stree and web series Mirzapur, Paatal Lok and Typewriter.
Abhishek Banerjee is best known for his roles in film Stree and web series Mirzapur, Paatal Lok and Typewriter.

Abhishek Banerjee: I realized last year what being famous means

By Juhi Chakraborty
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2021 12:20 PM IST
Actor Abhishek Banerjee recently won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor (Web Series) for his role Paatal Lok.
Close
Mona Singh had two web shows release last year -Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain S3 and Black Widows and shot for Lal Singh Chaddha.
Mona Singh had two web shows release last year -Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain S3 and Black Widows and shot for Lal Singh Chaddha.

Mona Singh: Never be insecure. If you are talented, you will get your due

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2021 12:03 PM IST
The actor feels nepotism might give you a break but if you don’t have talent you won’t grow. It all comes down to how confident you are of your talent.
Close
Amrita is happy that her latest web series, Jeet Ki Zidd, has been appreciated and that it inspired people as well.
Amrita is happy that her latest web series, Jeet Ki Zidd, has been appreciated and that it inspired people as well.

Amrita Puri: Post Aisha, I got praise but not good work

PUBLISHED ON FEB 21, 2021 05:43 PM IST
The actor says she had to work hard to break that image and was disappointed when she didn’t get good offers.
Close
Paul Bettany as The Vision in Avengers.
Paul Bettany as The Vision in Avengers.

Paul Bettany teases major Avenger cameo, says 'there were fireworks on set'

PUBLISHED ON FEB 20, 2021 06:33 PM IST
  • Actor Paul Bettany has said that a major cameo has yet to be revealed in WandaVision, and that 'there were fireworks on set' in scenes involving him and the actor, whom he'd 'longed to work with'.
Close
Amit Bhadhana recently became one of the few YouTubers to get 20 million plus subscribers on his channel.
Amit Bhadhana recently became one of the few YouTubers to get 20 million plus subscribers on his channel.

Amit Bhadhana: Mummy aaj bhi bol deti hai, chal jaa doodh la

By Aprajita Sharad, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 19, 2021 07:45 PM IST
Comedian and social media personality Amit Bhadhana was one of the first to recently hit the 20 million subscriber mark on YouTube.
Close
Kathryn Hahn debuts as Agatha Harkness, Teyonah Parris appears as Spectrum
Kathryn Hahn debuts as Agatha Harkness, Teyonah Parris appears as Spectrum

WandaVision Ep 7: Agatha and Spectrum's debut floods the internet with memes

UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2021 06:10 PM IST
WandaVision dropped its seventh episode today. The new episode was packed with a number of developments that left fans going gaga.
Close
Actors Ravi Dubey and Nia Sharma in a still from web show Jamai Raja 2.0.
Actors Ravi Dubey and Nia Sharma in a still from web show Jamai Raja 2.0.

Small screen to OTT screen: TV shows get new lease of life

By Sugandha Rawal
PUBLISHED ON FEB 19, 2021 05:44 PM IST
The popular characters of television shows such as Qubool Hai, Jamai Raja etc, are back in new avatar with new story, but on a new platform.
Close
From TV to films to the web platforms, actor Sharad Kelkar has had quite a smooth transition from one medium to the other.
From TV to films to the web platforms, actor Sharad Kelkar has had quite a smooth transition from one medium to the other.

Sharad Kelkar: Good actors who could not make in TV and films are getting a chance now, thanks to OTT

By Juhi Chakraborty
PUBLISHED ON FEB 19, 2021 12:26 PM IST
Actor Sharad Kelkar who was seen in web series Black Widows and film Laxmii that opted for a direct-to-OTT release, says it is finally that people understood the worth of the web platforms.
Close
Sharib Hashmi in Lucknow (Sourced photo)
Sharib Hashmi in Lucknow (Sourced photo)

Sharib Hashmi: No role is big or small

By S Farah Rizvi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 18, 2021 07:53 PM IST
Known for his roles in OTT series ‘The Family Man’, ‘Scam 1992…’ and film ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, actor Sharib Hashmi feels that finally he has arrived.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP