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Thursday, June 1, 2023

‘Tandav’ surpasses past web-series in anti-Hindu and divisive content, netizens call for ban

Web series on OTT platforms have developed a taste for Hindu-bashing content. The latest to join the bandwagon is ‘Tandav’, which seems to have ratcheted up the anti-Hindu bile and violence promotion in the guise of freedom of expression.

Sample this clip from the web series in which one of the characters played by Md. Zeeshan Ayyub enacts the role of Bhagwan Shiva (Ayyub’s name in the series is also Shiva Shekhar) where he is seen having a conversation with Narada muni played by Parv Kaila in a theatre festival organised at VNU (Vivekananda National University) –

Actually, the full exchange of the scene referenced above goes as follows (let’s call the character playing Narad Muni as N, and Ayub playing Bhagwan Shiva as S):

(The scene starts with S deep in meditation in the Nataraj pose holding the Trishul and Damru)

“Narayan, Narayan! Bhole Nath, Prabhu, Ishwar….Ram ji’s followers are increasing day by day on social media. I think we should also create a new social media strategy,” says Kaila

“What should I do? Upload a new photo?,” asks Ayyub.

“You are too naive, Lord. Try something new. In fact, try tweeting something sensational. Something scandalous!,” says Kaila. “Something like, all students on campus have become anti-nationals. They are shouting slogans for Azaadi, Azaadi (freedom, freedom),” he adds.

“Freedom? What the…” shouts Ayub, letting out an expletive (edited in the show). The crowd laughs and cheers wildly.

“When I went to sleep, Freedom was supposed to be a cool thing, right? Has the concept changed?” Ayyub asks, drawing Kaila close to him.

“hail Narayana, hail Narayana!” Kaila chants, turning away.

“What do you want freedom from?” Ayyub asks the audience.

“From huner, poverty, fuedalism, casteism, atrocities” shout the crowd.

“Ok, I get it. You don’t want freedom from the country, but want freedom within it,” says Ayyub.

“Yes!,” responds the crowd. “So make them understand – live but also let us live,” says Ayyub.

The artwork shown in the scene adorning the walls of the theatre is clearly an imitation of the Communist imagery seen in JNU etc., and the scene is a subtle attempt to whitewash the 9 Feb 2016 protest  held at JNU – a ‘Cultural Evening’ called by leftist students to protest the “judicial killing” of convicted terrorists Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, and against the “Brahmanical collective conscience”. Chants of Azaadi and Bharat ki barbadi (destruction of Bharat) were raised at this protest, post which a police case was filed against Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and others. Khalid is now in jail under the stringent UAPA law for organising & inciting the anti-Hindu Delhi riots which were staged to internationalise the anti-CAA protests.

The name of the show itself was carefully chosen for subliminal messaging – Tandav is the sacred dance form performed by Bhagwan Shiva.

Whatever the political agenda of the makers, what was the need to peddle the same in a sacrilegious manner by making a mockery of Hindu Gods and sacred figures?

BJP leader Kapil Mishra has appealed to everyone to write to I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar to have the show taken off air stating that it insults Dalits, provokes communal violence, besides disparaging sacred religious icons.

The naked political agenda of the show at a time when the farmers protests at Delhi borders have paralysed parts of the national capital couldn’t be clearer. But the show is trying to create an alternative reality in the guise of reflecting current political events. The first episode of the series shows police conspiring with some political fixer to brutally murder some Muslim youth taking part in a farmers protest against forced capture of their land for a ‘Make In India’ factory.

So the series is indirectly feeding into the fake narrative spread by Opposition and left-liberal malcontents that the farm reforms introduced by centre will lead to ‘corporate take over of farm lands’, which is just not possible if one studies the three laws, and a point which was repeatedly clarified even during the recent Supreme Court hearing.

More anti-government propaganda follows – the lead character, politician Samar Pratap Singh, played by Saif Ali Khan, tells his father Devki Nandan (PM of the country and head of their party) played by Tigmanshu Dhulia why he allowed a man who couldn’t run Kanpur to become the CM of UP – a veiled jibe at Yogi Adityanath? Dhulia is also shown abusing a Scheduled Caste leader/minister of his own party during a closed-door meeting.

The first episode also shows the power-hungry Samar Pratap murder his own father, who was expected to become the PM for the 3rd time once election results were announced the next day.

We didn’t go beyond the first episode of this 8-episode series, but based on what we did see, we uninhibitedly second Kapil Mishra’s demand for an immediate ban on this series.

Web series – a powerful anti-Hindu and BreakingIndia propaganda tool

It is evident that the show has been created as a propaganda vehicle to strengthen the protest politics model which has taken root since the Shaheen Bagh sit-in. The denigration of Hindu Dharma is just an added spice, which has become so mainstream in the web series world that producers and directors probably now add it to stoke up online controversy (publicity) because they know that there is no real downside – some Hindus may protest and boycott the show, but ultimately as governments and judiciary refuse to act, there are enough deracinated HINOS (Hindus in Name Only) to consume their mediocre trash. Moreover, those funding such agenda-driven shows probably don’t care much for viewership and ratings – seeding their poison in young, impressionable minds is all they care for.

Prime and Netflix are at the forefront of such shows, although the disease has now spread to almost all OTT platforms with shows like SonyLiv’s A Simple Murder, Zee5’s Godman, or MX Player’s Ashram following the same Hinduphobic template. Such shows involve both Hindus (in name) and Muslims in story and script-writing, direction, production etc.

The series ‘Tandav’ was shot partially at Saif Ali Khan’s ancestral palace in Pataudi, Haryana. It is directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, who has also directed Bollywood blockbusters with Salman Khan like Sultan, Tiger Zinda Hai and Bharat. The series has been written by Gaurav Solanki – who in a recent pre-launch interview claimed the series ‘will not offend any reasonable person’. Solanki’s definition of reasonable would not be at odds with that of Hafeez Saeed.

Ball in I&B ministry’s court

After the much-touted self-regulation code signed by big OTT platforms failed to curb the glut of such derogatory and disturbing web series, the I&B ministry had announced in November, 2020 that all online content providers and news portals would be brought under the purview of the Information and Broadcasting ministry. Two months on, no one knows whether any rules have been framed to regulate OTT content. The ball is clearly in Prakash Javadekar and Narendra Modi’s court.

If even a fraction of the mockery and disparagement which Hindus have been subjected to had been directed at Muslims, Christians, Sikhs or any other community, the country would be up in flames by now with repeat offenders behind such web series being on hit lists. The time to act for Government is NOW.

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