Tuesday , August 3 2021

Suitable Boy: Netflix India is facing boycott calls over a kissing scene

The exchange takes place in the series, “A Suitable Boy,” an adaptation of the award-winning novel by Indian author Vikram Seth, released on the streaming service last month.

The story follows the love life of a young Hindu woman and at one time depicts her being kissed by a Muslim man in a Hindu temple.

That has been controversial for some viewers in India, including Hindu nationalist politicians. On Sunday, “#BoycottNetflix” was trending on Twitter there, according to local media reports. The same day, Narottam Mishra, the minister of home affairs in the government of the province of Madhya Pradesh, He said on Twitter that he had “asked the police to investigate this controversial content.”

“This has very unpleasant content that hurts the feelings of people of a particular religion,” said Mishra, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Hindu Nationalist Party (BJP).

“I have asked authorities to examine why, and with what intentions, this program and theme has been rebooted [streaming] platforms, “ he said, adding that he was looking into what legal action could be taken.

On Saturday, BJP youth leader Gaurav Tiwari – he told reporters he had lodged a separate complaint against Netflix’s vice president of content in India and his director of public policy in relation to the show. The complaint accuses Netflix of committing “deliberate or malicious acts, with the intention of angering religious sentiments.” Under Indian law, such an offense could be punishable by a prison term of up to three years, a fine, or both.

Netflix declined to comment.

Adapt to India

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was re-elected in a landslide victory for his BJP party last year, many Indian Muslims say his emphasis on empowering India’s Hindu majority has left them feeling like second-class citizens in their own country.
The news also comes at a sensitive time for streaming services in India. Earlier this month, the government announced new rules for digital media, saying that online streaming platforms would begin to be regulated by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

That could force companies like Netflix to start following the same restrictions as traditional media.

India is a huge part of Netflix’s push into Asia. It has poured $ 400 million into the market over the past two years, turning the country into one of its major regional production hubs. Earlier this year, it also added a Hindi option on its platform to reach more Indian consumers.

“A Suitable Boy,” a BBC production later acquired by Netflix, is just one of a series of Indian-focused titles the company is releasing there. The show focuses on how “modernity confronts tradition,” according to a synopsis on the Netflix website.

Indian jewelery brand is drawing commercials with interfaith couple following adversity

That could also be a description of the current cultural debate in India. Lately, many politicians have been floating the topic of “love jihad,” an Islamophobic theory that claims that Muslim men lured Hindu women into conversion under the pretext of marriage.

Mishra told reporters this month that a law would be introduced in his state to punish anyone found guilty of committing what he considered a “love of jihad.”

Other businesses have been thrown off by similar arguments. Last month, an Indian jewelry brand pulled out an ad showing a Muslim family with their Hindu daughter-in-law after criticism from some people in the Hindu community.

– Helen Regan, Priyali Sur and Vedika Sud contributed to this report.

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