Dissenting Cinema: Why India Censors Films
Dissenting Cinema: Why India Censors Films

The Indian government has long been quick to censor content that poses a challenge to the reigning politics of the time.

Viewers of 'Tandav' were upset with a scene depicting a stage play, where a character plays a modern, tech-savvy version of Lord Shiva (Amazon Prime).

Viewers of 'Tandav' were upset with a scene depicting a stage play, where a character plays a modern, tech-savvy version of Lord Shiva (Amazon Prime).

In Tandav, Ali Abbas Zafar’s 2021 political Amazon Prime series, a student-turned-politician Shiva (Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub) plays Lord Shiva in a college play. But his Serpent God is not weighed down by mythological costume and makeup — he plays a trendier Lord Shiva, in denim pants and leather jacket, musing about his social media follower count compared to that of Lord Ram’s. This scene prompted a vigorous outburst in real life. Viewers offended by what they felt was blasphemous content called for the banning of the series and Amazon Prime. #BoycottTandav began trending on Twitter, and users charged Islamophobic attacks against director Zafar, star Saif Ali Khan who was leading the cast, and Ayyub. Rajput organization Karni Sena even promised a reward of Rs. 1 crore to anyone who would cut off the tongue of the show’s makers. 

The coordinated online attack against Tandav happened a few months after some audiences were outraged by a scene in Mira Nair’s

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