A First Information Report (FIR) has been filed against the makers of the Tamil movie Annapoorani: The Goddess of Food including actors Nayanthara and Jai by the Mumbai police for “offending Hindu religious sentiments.” The FIR was filed on Monday, January 8, after a complaint was filed by a man named Ramesh Solanki, founder of the Hindu IT Cell. The complaint was filed against the film’s lead actors Nayanthara and Jai, writer-director Nilesh Krishnaa, producers Jatin Sethi, R Ravindran, and Punit Goenka, Zee Studios Chief Business Officer Shariq Patel, and the head of Netflix India Monika Shergill.
Annapoorani released in theatres on December 1, and was recently made available on streaming platform Netflix. 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) plays her 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.
In his complaint which was shared on X (formerly known as Twitter), Ramesh mentioned several scenes which supposedly offended Hindu sentiments. One of them was promoting “love jihad”, a bogus idea peddled by Hindu right-wing groups about Muslim men marrying Hindu women solely to convert them to Islam. However, the relationship between Annapoorani and Farhan (played by Jai) is ambiguous despite indicating a romantic interest expressed by the latter. The supposed romantic relationship between Annapoorani and Farhan appear to have offended Hindu right-wing members.
Another reason cited in Ramesh's complaint was that the movie suggests that Hindu deity Rama was a meat eater. In the movie, when Annapoorni is conflicted about cooking and eating meat, Farhan tells her that even Rama consumed meat. Following this dialogue, Annapoorani raises the question of whether it would be a sin or not if she ate meat.
One more scene that purportedly offended Hindu sentiments was Annapoorani donning a hijab and offering namaz before making biryani during the final round of a cooking show. She does this to pay a tribute to Farhan's mother, who guided her in making biryani well. The juxtaposition of Annapoorani's father as a temple prasadam (offering) maker and his daughter as a chef who makes and eats meat was also mentioned in the complaint as offensive to Hindus.
Ever since the teaser of the film was released, the film has been called offensive for demeaning Brahmins. Several people on X criticised the trailer for ‘mocking’ Brahmin tradition for showing a woman who ate and cooked meat.