Present DELHI: On Sunday, an Indian state ordered police to investigate after a member of the country’s ruling party objected to scenes from the A Suitable Boy Netflix series in which a Hindu girl kisses a Muslim boy against the backdrop of a Hindu temple.
The series is based on an English novel by Vikram Seth, one of India’s leading authors, and follows the search of a young girl for a husband. It is directed by renowned filmmaker Mira Nair from India.
“Narottam Mishra, the interior minister of the central state of Madhya Pradesh, said on Twitter, “It has highly offensive scenes that have hurt the sentiments of a specific faith.
“I have directed police officers to test this controversial content” to ascertain “what legal action can be taken for harming religious feelings against the producer-director of the film.”
Gaurav Tiwari, a leader of the youth wing of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India, which also governs Madhya Pradesh, has filed a separate lawsuit against Netflix and alerted Hindus to street protests if the display is not deleted from the website.
A spokesperson for Netflix India denied comment on the police complaint. Nair could not be reached by Reuters.
Commentators on social media claim that in India, the space for artistic freedom is shrinking, especially where it includes some portrayal of Hindu-Muslim ties.
Many Indians have taken to Twitter requesting a Netflix boycott, which sees India as one of the most exciting development markets, but where its shows have faced legal difficulties.
A subsidiary of India’s Tata group pulled a jewellery commercial last month depicting a Hindu-Muslim family attending a baby shower, after threats to one of its stores and widespread social media criticism.
The Indian government announced legislation earlier this month to control content on video streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Walt Disney’s Hotstar.