New Delhi: The Netflix originals in India, 'Sacred Games' courted trouble within days of its premiere. It landed itself in the lap of controversies after a Congress supporter filed a complaint against actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Netflix and producer of the show, reportedly. The complainant has alleged that the makers have abused former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on the show.
Also, a petition was filed seeking the removal of certain content from the web series. According to PTI, a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar asked the petitioner's advocate to first advance his submissions on the point of maintainability of the plea as a public interest litigation (PIL) and listed the matter for further hearing on July 19. The bench said it has gone through the CD of the series, placed on record by the petitioner, and there was nothing urgent in it as all the episodes have been aired.
It also asked how the actors could be held liable for enacting their characters. The court said a person is entitled to express his views, which may be right or wrong, and asked the petitioner to satisfy it on how the court could interject.
"Are there other remarks in the series or any other material as far as Rajiv Gandhi is concerned? You don't require any CBFC certificate before airing?" the bench asked. The court was hearing a plea filed by petitioner advocate Nikhil Bhalla, through advocate Shashank Garg. It contends that the show, starring Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, "incorrectly depicts historical events of the country like Bofors case, Shah Bano case, Babri Masjid case and communal riots".
Senior advocate Chander Lal, appearing for Netflix, and senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, representing production house Phantom, said the series has eight episodes that have already been aired and does not require a CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) certificate. The petitioner's counsel told the court that Bhalla has a history of being a Congress member but has filed this plea in his personal capacity and it was not a case of personal interest. The plea has alleged that certain scenes and dialogues in the show defamed the late Congress leader.
The plea has sought directions to Netflix Entertainment, the show's producer -- Phantom Films Production Ltd -- and the Centre to ensure "in toto" removal of the allegedly offensive scenes and derogatory remarks made directly or indirectly against the former prime minister or his family. The first season of the show, comprising eight episodes, was released on July 6 and is available in 190 countries in four languages, the petition has said.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi too took to Twitter handle recently and reacting to the ongoing controversy wrote:
BJP/RSS believe the freedom of expression must be policed & controlled. I believe this freedom is a fundamental democratic right.
My father lived and died in the service of India. The views of a character on a fictional web series can never change that.#SacredGames
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 14, 2018
Sacred Games is based on Vikram Chandra's 2006 thriller novel of the same name. The novel was adapted by Smita Singh, Vasant Nath, and Varun Grover, and all eight, hour-long episodes were directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane.
It has been produced in partnership with Phantom Films. It stars Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Radhika Apte in lead roles. Ahead of its premiere, the show was high on buzzword and highly anticipated among the viewers.
(With PTI inputs)