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Netflix will not change objectionable word in Sacred Games, Rajiv Gandhi line to remain

A legal counsel for Netflix said on Tuesday that the streaming service had no intention of removing an ‘objectionable word’ used to describe former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in the show Sacred Games.

tv Updated: Aug 08, 2018 15:06 IST
Press Trust of India
Netflix,Sacred Games,Rajiv Gandhi
Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a still from Sacred Games.(Ishika Mohan Motwane/Netflix)

The Delhi High Court was on Tuesday informed that Netflix has not changed an alleged objectionable word that was used to describe former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in its series Sacred Games.

A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar was told by the counsel for the streaming service that a partly-wrong statement was made by him earlier and that neither they have changed the word in the English subtitles nor they want to change it.

"My instructions are that we don't want to change the word," senior advocate Chander Lal, appearing for Netflix, said.

He said the series is available on the platform in several languages and versions and in one version, the subtitle uses the alleged objectionable word while the other has a different word as these were translated by different people.

On July 19, Netflix's counsel, on instructions, had informed the bench that they, on their own, had changed a word in the English subtitles in the fourth episode of the series, which was allegedly derogatory.

The court was hearing a plea filed by petitioner Nikhil Bhalla, through advocate Shashank Garg. It contended that the show, starring Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, "incorrectly depicts historical events of the country like Bofors case, Shah Bano case, Babri Masjid case and communal riots".

The bench listed the matter for further hearing on September 20. "Nobody is pressing or forcing you. You take your own decision, whether you want to change the word or not. We are not going to compel you," the bench orally said during the hearing.

It had earlier observed that criticism and expression of dissatisfaction were permissible and it did not want to curtail anyone's right.

Earlier, the court was also of a prima facie view that it could be a private injury and not a public injury and asked the petitioner to address it on point of maintainability of the plea as a public interest litigation (PIL).

The court had earlier observed that actors could not be held liable for enacting their characters and a person was entitled to express his views, which might be right or wrong.

The plea alleged that certain scenes and dialogues in the show defamed the late Congress leader.

The plea sought directions to Netflix Entertainment, the show's producer -- Phantom Films Production Ltd -- and the Centre to ensure "in toto" removal of the allegedly offensive scenes and derogatory remarks made directly or indirectly against the former prime minister or his family.

The first season of the show, comprising eight episodes, was released on July 6 and was available in 190 countries in four languages, the petition said.

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First Published: Aug 08, 2018 15:06 IST