“We have utmost respect for the sentiments of the people of our country. We did not intend to hurt or offend the sentiments of any individual, caste, community, race, religion, or religious beliefs or insult or outrage any institution, political party or person, living or dead,” said an official statement from the cast and crew of “Tandav,” released via series creator Ali Abbas Zafar’s Twitter account.
“The cast and crew of ‘Tandav’ have made the decision to implement changes to the web series to address the concerns raised towards the same. We thank the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for guidance and support in the matter. We once again apologize if the series has unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments.”
— ali abbas zafar (@aliabbaszafar) January 19, 2021
The series, which premiered Jan. 15, quickly ran afoul of Hindu nationalist politicians who objected to a scene depicting the Hindu God Shiva in a play, with the deity being played by Muslim actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub. While it is not yet clear what the changes are going to be, it is almost certainly going to be this scene, which features in episode 1, that will be amended. Some of the complaints filed with the police about the play specifically mention the scene where Ayyub’s character, named Shiva Shekhar in the series, appears to utter the F-word during the play, but it is drowned by crowd noise.
The cast and crew apologized on Monday.
The complaints are from politicians belonging to India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Meanwhile, opposition politicians are accusing the BJP of trying to divert attention from burning issues of the day. “Tandav” depicts a farmers’ agitation. In real life, farmers have congregated in their thousands in Delhi for months, protesting against a farm bill that they say is unfavorable to them.
Meanwhile series lead, Saif Ali Khan, his pregnant wife Kareena Kapoor, who is also a top actor, and their young son, are under police protection.
The series also stars Dimple Kapadia (“Tenet”) and an ensemble cast of well-known actors.
Zafar is best known for his hit films “Sultan,” “Tiger Zinda Hai” and “Bharat,” all starring Salman Khan.