Have you watched Pataal Lok yet, you may soon not be able to stream the web-series.
Amazon Prime original, web-series, Pataal Lok, was released on 15th April. It is a crime thriller which features Jaideep Ahlawat, Neeraj Kabi, Ishwar Singh and Abhishek Bannerjee in the lead roles. Anushka Sharma’s production house, Clean Slate Films, happens to produce the web-series. While it was awaited by the audience and it has attracted appreciation but it has also found itself surrounded by numerous controversy since its release.
Protests have also started against the web-series with #BoycottPaatal Lok trending on twitter. In some cases, an immediate ban is demanded on the web-series as well as legal action against the producers. All those who happen to oppose the web-series and seek a ban states that the series puts the Hindu in a bad light as well as scenes from the scene also maligning the Gorkha and Sikh community.
Firstly, coming to the Gorkha community who was one of the earliest agitators seeking alteration in the web-series. The Gorkha community claims that in the second episode a sexist slur is used against their community with the use of the word Nepali followed by a derogatory remark.
Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh, an Indian organization representing the Gorkha community, youth wing Bharatiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh (BhaGoYuP), has come up with an online petition demanding that the remarks against the community should be muted and “corresponding subtitle is uploaded again with a disclaimer as the scene contains a sexual slur directed at the Gorkha community.”
Indra Hang Subba, MP, Sikkim has also written a letter to Prakash Javedkar, Minister of I&B on the entire controversy. The content of the letter is as follow:
“This is regarding sexist slur hurled against the Nepali speaking community in the second episode of the original series Patal Lok which is being streamed in Amazon Prime Video. Nepali is one of the 22 languages listed in the 8th Schedule of the Indian constitution with 10.5 million people speaking the language as mother tongue.
Hence the derogatory and offensive label made in the particular scene of the series has not only hurt the sentiments of the community but has also set an example of racist stereotyping of the people from the community especially at this time where the people from the northeast region have already endured racial assaults owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Secondly, the Sikh community also followed up next against one of the scenes in which a Sikh person is showcased raping a woman.
Manjinder Singh Sirsa, President, Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, and former MP stated that the series is damaging the religious harmony of the scene. He has appealed to the I&B minister to look into the entire incident and threatened Amazon Prime video against legal action.
He also tweeted on the controversial rape scene expressing his anger, “Sikhs are Saviours of women. The whole world recognizes Sikhs for their Sewa and Humanity but shame on @AnushkaSharma @PrimeVideoIN for showing Sikhs as Rapists”.
Finally, the most recent controversy was sparked when BJP MLA, Nandkishor Gurjar, filed a complaint against the producer, Anushka Sharma accusing her of using his photograph without his consent. According to him, it also features the CM of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath too but it has been blurred.
He has also raised demands for a case to be filed against Anuskha under the National Security Act as the series causes “communal disharmony.” He also put forth accusations that the show demeans Hindus showing them as casteists and also showcasing Hindu organizations negatively. He has also pointed to a scene where it was shown that some Hindus lynched a Muslim man over the suspicion that he was carrying beef.
Netizens have also demanded intervention from officials and raised questions over the reasons behind this overall background of Hinduphobia in the web-series.
There has been no official statement from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. The content on OTT platforms is not censored and a lot of content on these platforms needs to be regulated. The Ministry of I&B needs to intervene in the matter at the earliest to prevent any further outrage.