Temple Kissing Scenes in ‘A Suitable Boy’ Stir Trouble for Netflix India

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A scene from the Netflix series A Suitable Boy.

The series is based on an English novel by one of India’s leading writers Vikram Seth and follows a young girl’s quest for a husband. It is directed by celebrated Indian filmmaker Mira Nair.

NEW DELHI — After a member of the country’s ruling party objected to scenes in the Netflix series A Suitable Boy, in which a Hindu girl kisses a Muslim boy against the backdrop of a Hindu temple, Madhya Pradesh government has asked police to investigate the matter.

The series is based on an English novel by one of India’s leading writers Vikram Seth and follows a young girl’s quest for a husband. It is directed by celebrated Indian filmmaker Mira Nair.

“It has extremely objectionable scenes that have hurt the feelings of a particular religion,” Narottam Mishra, the interior minister of the central state of Madhya Pradesh, said on Twitter on Sunday.

“I’ve directed police officers to get this controversial content tested” to determine “what legal action can be taken against the producer-director of the film for hurting religious sentiments”.

Gaurav Tiwari, a leader of the youth wing of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which also governs Madhya Pradesh, has filed a separate complaint against Netflix and warned of street protests by Hindus if the series is not taken off the platform.

An FIR was registered in Madhya Pradesh on Monday against two executives of Netflix, reports PTI.

The FIR has named Monika Shergill, Vice President, Content (Netflix) and Ambika Khurana, Director, Public Policies (Netflix), Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said.

A Netflix India spokesman declined comment on the police complaint. Reuters could not contact Nair.

Meanwhile, collector of Khargone district Anugraha P told PTI that the controversial kissing scenes do not appear to have filmed inside a temple in Maheshwar town in the district.

Social media commentators say the scope for creative freedom is narrowing in India, especially when it involves any depiction of Hindu-Muslim relations.

Many Indians took to Twitter demanding a boycott of Netflix, which sees India as one of its most promising growth markets, but where its shows have faced legal challenges.

Last month, a unit of India’s Tata conglomerate withdrew a jewellery advertisement featuring a Hindu-Muslim family celebrating a baby shower, following threats to one of its stores and wide criticism on social media.

Earlier this month, the Indian government announced rules to regulate content on video streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Walt Disney’s Hotstar. — Reuters

(Inputs added)

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Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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