Another day, another boycott. After supposedly “boycotting” Tanishq, the whole of Bollywood and Tanishq (again), certain sections of desi Twitter decided to trend #BoycottNetflix over a kissing scene featured in Mira Nair’s snooze-fest, A Suitable Boy. The series features the great Tabu, Ishaan Khatter and Tanya Maniktala.
The social media outrage is over Maniktala’s character, Lata, kissing Danesh Razvi’s character, Kabir Durrani, in a sequence shot inside a temple in A Suitable Boy. For anyone still wondering, Lata is a Hindu whereas Kabir is a Muslim man. The fact the they are in an inter-religious relationship would have been enough to fan the flames but then Lata went and kissed Kabir inside a temple and the guardians of our glorious Indian culture decided to show their displeasure by trending #BoycottNetflix.
In fact, such was the anger that Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narrotam Mishra shared a video message on Twitter and ordered the police to look into this “controversial” content.
BJP leader Gaurav Goel tweeted in support of ‘Boycott Netflix’ trend. “If any OTT platform is deliberately insulting the Hindu Gods & Goddess, pls file the complaint with the police or local court under Section 295A of IPC. The law will take care of such offenders,” he said.
A Suitable Boy released on Netlfix on October 23 and was received poorly while Khatter and Tabu’s performances were praised.
In related news, after a new notification issed by the central government, OTT platforms such as Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar and several others will be regulated by the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B Ministry). Effective immediately, the order brings all the platforms under the ministry, headed by Prakash Javadekar.
The Indian Express spoke to notable names from the film industry, who expressed their disappointment with the government’s new order. Film-maker Hansal Mehta told Indian Express, “While this decision wasn’t unexpected, it is still a reason for despair. This desperation for control of free speech and expression does not augur well. I am currently very disappointed.”
Mehta was correct when he said that this notification was a “reason for despair” because Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Babul Supriyo just echoed our worst fears.
In an interview with Bollywood Hungama, the BJP minister said: “It would all be reasonable. It’s not as though we’ll suddenly clamp down on the OTT content. Filmmakers on the digital platform would still have comparatively a lot more freedom than on the large screen. The only thing is, freedom won’t be unlimited. You won’t be allowed to go on an abusive binge like (in) Mirzapur. Who swears this much at every opportunity?”