"It depicts extremely objectionable scenes"
A Suitable Boy has hit the headlines as a particular kissing scene has led to the hashtag #BoycottNetflix trending on Twitter.
The television show originally aired on BBC One in the UK in July 2020. It was later released on Netflix along with Hindi dubbing. The series features six episodes in total.
Directed by Mira Nair, A Suitable Boy tells the story of four families in the post-Independence era and is set in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
It stars Tabu, Ishaan Khatter, Ranvir Shorey, Vijay Verma, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Rasika Dugal, Vivaan Shah, among others.
The series is based on Vikram Seth’s novel of the same name, which was released in 1993.
However, it has now caused controversy as a kissing scene between Tanya Maniktala’s character Lata Mehra and Danesh Razvi’s Kabir Durrani takes place inside a temple.
The scene was reportedly “hurting religious sentiments” and it led to #BoycottNetflix trending.
On November 22, 2020, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra directed police officers to look into the show’s content.
Mishra took to Twitter and wrote: “A film titled A Suitable Boy has been released on an OTT platform.
“It depicts extremely objectionable scenes that hurt the feelings of a particular religion. I have directed police officials to look into it.”
Mishra also asked officials to inform him whether legal action can be taken against the show’s producer and director for “hurting religious sentiments”.
The Home Minister’s statement comes a day after BJP youth leader Gaurav Tiwari submitted a written complaint to Rewa Superintendent of Police Rakesh Kumar Singh, demanding that an FIR be registered.
He also urged Twitter users to uninstall Netflix from their devices.
On November 23, 2020, Tiwari took to Twitter and revealed that an FIR was registered against Netflix India’s Vice-President of Content, Monika Shergill, and Director, Public Policy, Ambika Khurana.
Finally My FIR against Netflix has been filed under section 295 (A) on Monica Shergill (VP Content) & Ambika Khurana (DPR, Netflix) over shooting kissing scenes under temple premises in ‘A Suitable Boy’ series.
— Gaurav Tiwari (@adolitics) November 23, 2020
BJP spokesperson Gaurav Goel also joined in with the boycott, without naming A Suitable Boy.
He stated that if any streaming platform was “deliberately hurting” Hindu Gods and Goddesses, citizens should file a complaint with the police or local court under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code.
Goel added that “the law will take care of such offenders”.
Netizens weighed in on the debate, with some supporting the boycott and others against it.
One person suggested that action should be taken against the temple authorities for allowing permission for a kissing scene to take place on the premises in the first place.
They wrote: “First up all they should take action against temple authorities for giving permission to such scene in temple premises.”
Another said: “Temple is a place for worshipping but Netflix won’t understand it as their anti-Hindu mentality is known to all.”
On the other hand, some netizens sided with Netflix and said the calls for a boycott were “regressive”.
The makers of the show and Netflix have not reacted to the matter but the scene has caused controversy among a section of viewers.