Authorities are looking into claims that Amazon’s new Prime Video series “Tandav” includes religiously insensitive content. Several Indian politicians say they have complained to the police or regulators about the company and the show’s creators.
The show follows a power-hungry politician who is willing to do anything to become the country’s prime minister. It appears to be loosely based on real political controversies that have erupted across the country as Hindu nationalism has grown. (The cast and crew said Monday in a statement that the show is a “work of fiction and any resemblance to acts and persons and events is purely coincidental.”)
Kotak, who is a member of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said that the show’s creators appeared to be “deliberately mocking Hindu Gods.”
Amazon declined to comment on Monday.
“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 statement read.
Authorities step in
“A discussion will happen on this,” a spokesperson told CNN Business.
The series has prompted other lawmakers to go to the police. Ram Kadam, another BJP leader and local legislator in the state of Maharashtra, said he filed a police complaint in Mumbai over the weekend, accusing Amazon of intending to “outrage religious sentiments” and publish “material which can cause harm.”
Local police confirmed that they had received Kadam’s complaint, but had not yet started an investigation.
A critical market
India is a crucial market for Amazon. This month, a company executive called the country “one of the most exciting streaming markets in the world right now.”
Original content is key to that strategy, with more than 80 titles in production or development, Purohit told the outlet.
This isn’t the first time Amazon has run into hot water in India.
The exchange, which takes place in the series, “A Suitable Boy,” depicts a young Hindu woman being kissed by a Muslim man at a Hindu temple. The show angered some viewers in India, prompting a police complaint against Netflix executives.
Netflix declined to comment Monday about the current status of that complaint. A police official told CNN Business the investigation was ongoing.
That could force companies like Amazon and Netflix to follow the same restrictions as traditional media, such as rules about showing violence or nudity.
— CNN’s Vedika Sud contributed to this report.