Police case filed against Netflix executives in India over 'A Suitable Boy' kissing scene
Netflix, which has invested more than $ 500 million in the last few years to break into India, is slowly figuring out what could upset some people in the world's second largest internet market: Everything, apparently.
A police case was filed this week against two executives of the American streaming service in India after a leader of the ruling party objected to certain scenes on a television series.
The show "A Suitable Boy" is an adaptation of the award-winning novel by Indian author Vikram Seth, which follows the life of a young girl. There is a scene in which the protagonist kisses a Muslim boy in a Hindu temple.
Narottam Mishra, the interior minister of central Madhya Pradesh, said an initial intelligence report (an official police complaint) had been filed against Monika Shergill, vice president of content at Netflix, and Ambika Khurana, director of public policies for the company, on offensive scenes on the show, that hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus.
“I had asked officials to investigate the 'A Suitable Boy' series streamed on Netflix to see if kissing scenes were filmed in a temple and whether they violated religious sentiments. Examination at first sight showed that these scenes hurt the feelings of a particular religion, "he said.
Gaurav Tiwari, a BJP youth leader who made the complaint, called for an apology from Netflix and the show's creators (directed by award-winning filmmaker Mira Nair), saying the film promotes "love jihad," an Islamophobic conspiracy theory that claims Muslim Men entice Hindi women to convert their religion on the pretext of marriage.
Netflix declined to comment.
In the past few days, some people have been expressing their anger on Netflix on social media over these "obnoxious" scenes. However, it is unclear whether all - if any - are Netflix subscribers.
The incident came weeks after an ad by the luxury jewelry brand Tanishq - part of the 152-year-old salt and steel conglomerate - celebrating interfaith marriage received violent backlash across the country.
For Netflix, the timing of this backlash isn't particularly good. The new incident comes days after the Indian government announced new digital media rules, under which the National Department of Information and Broadcasting will regulate online streaming services. Before this new rule, India's IT ministry was in charge of streaming services, and online services had a great deal of freedom, according to a leading streaming services manager.
Netflix's Recent Strike in India: Support for Hindi
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