BJP MLA Raja Singh, known for his anti-Muslim speeches, has called for a ban on Zee Studios, which produced Nayanthara’s Tamil movie Annapoorani, claiming that the movie promotes ‘love jihad.’ Suggesting that there should be censorship on OTT content, the Goshamahal legislator said that unless filmmakers like Nilesh Krishnaa were arrested, there won’t be a change in films that promote ‘anti-Hindu narratives’.
Since its release on OTT platform Netflix on December 29, Annapoorani has been targeted by Hindu outfits which allege that the film has hurt their religious sentiments. The film follows a Brahmin woman (played by Nayanthara) from the conservative temple town of Srirangam who defies social odds to become India’s top chef. Her classmate Farhan (played by Jai) is a friend who helps her navigate challenges and conflicts, especially regarding cooking and eating meat. After initial conflict, she begins eating meat so that she can cook it in competitions, and does not let her caste and religious location hinder her.
“Look at the movie’s script: a priest’s daughter loves a Muslim man. The female lead is told to recite the Quran and pressured to cook biryani. The Muslim hero tells the heroine that she should not hesitate to eat meat since Lord Rama himself consumed meat,” Raja Singh told news agency ANI.
Recently, Zee Studios issued an apology saying, “We have no intentions as co-producers of the film to hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindu and Brahmin communities and would hereby like to apologise for the inconvenience and hurt caused to the sentiments of the respective communities.”
However, Raja Singh said that the apology will not suffice. He said that he would appeal to Union Home Minister Amit Shah for a ban on the production house.
He claimed that some movies are deliberately made to hurt the sentiments of Hindus and encourage ‘love jihad’ – a conspiracy theory spread by right-wing organisations alleging that Muslim men ‘trap’ Hindu and Christian women into marrying them and force them to convert to Islam.
Meanwhile, a case has been registered against Nayanthara, director Nilesh Krishnaa, producers Jatin Sethi, R Ravindran, and head of Netflix India Monika Shergill in Madhya Pradesh. The FIR was based on a complaint filed by Hindu Sewa Parishad. Complaints have been filed in Mumbai as well by the Bajrang Dal and Hindu IT cell.
Following a campaign by Hindu outfits, Netflix removed the movie from its platform. It did not offer any explanation behind its decision.