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Tandav (Amazon Prime Web Series): Amazon Issues ‘Unconditional’ Apology After Complaints That Series Hurt Religious Sentiments

Amazon said that it apologises "unconditionally to anyone who felt hurt” for scenes in its original drama series Tandav starring Saif Ali Khan.

Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service on Tuesday issued a rare apology to its Indian viewers for certain scenes in its original political drama series Tandav, which allegedly offended Hindu religious beliefs.

Tandav, a Hindi word meaning “fury”, stars top Bollywood actors. In a few states it has faced police complaints and legal disputes asserting the show had depicted Hindu gods and goddesses in a derogatory manner, and offended religious beliefs. Lawmakers from India’s ruling nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party have also criticised it. In a statement named “Amazon Prime Video Apologizes”, the company on Tuesday said it deeply regrets viewers considered certain scenes to be shocking.

Amazon apologizes “unconditionally to anyones who felt hurt,” it said, adding that it will keep on creating content while respecting the diversity of audiences’ culture and beliefs. The Tandav controversy escalated a week ago when police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh addressed one of Amazon’s top executive for quite a long time in one case filed against the show.

Asked about the company apology, a senior state police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said authorities would continue investigating the matter. Shows on streaming platforms such as, Netflix and Amazon Prime have faced complaints in India for obscenity or offending beliefs, but the latest controversy involving the Amazon show Tandav is among the highest-profile cases.

An Indian media and entertainment industry executive said Amazon’s apology was remarkable and showed that big US aggregates can yield to political or cultural demands. The executive spoke on condition of anonymity. In January 2020, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos went to a Prime Video event in Mumbai with Bollywood stars and announced it would double down on its investments. He said Prime Video was doing great worldwide “however no place it’s showing improvement over India”.

India is a basic development market for Amazon, where it has committed investments of $6.5 billion (generally Rs. 47,610 crores), with interests in e-commerce, video streaming, cloud computing, and different zones. Amazon is currently also facing requires a boycott after Reuters last month reported the US firm had for quite a long time given preferential treatment to a small group of sellers on its India website and used them to circumvent the country’s strict foreign investment regulations.