Is Netflix really Anti-Hindu?

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature
Image Courtesy: News18
A member of the Shiv Sena has filed a police complaint against Netflix alleging the global streaming giant is Anti-Hindu. But is Netflix really Anti-Hindu? Well, in this regard, we would like to touch upon a few things:

1. Netflix is a subscription based service. You pay a monthly fee to avail the service. Their shows don't release in cinemas. They don't come to your homes directly like television. 

2. The medium caters to individualistic needs. The popularity of platforms like Netflix solely rest on the fact that there is a section of the society whose entertainment needs are not getting matched by conventional means or entertainment. It is a clear case of demand creating supply.

3. The audience in the case of Netflix is spread across more than 180 countries and so it cuts across not just barriers of language but geographic and political borders also. Recently the trailer of Bard of Blood was released and the Pakistani army accused Shah Rukh Khan and Netflix of being anti-Pakistani when the fact of the matter is that Netflix is merely doing the job of adapting literary works.

4. Sacred Games is based on a book by Vikram Chandra which was released in 2006. Leila is based on a book by Prayag Akbar. Bard of Blood is based on a book by Bilal Siddiqui. Now these people who are calling Netflix anti-Hindu had no objections to these books which have been in the public domain for years. Shiv Sena very flippantly called Netflix anti-Hindu just as the Pakistani army called SRK anti-Pakistani. I think we all are reasonable people with a rational mindset and so we should talk with greater maturity and responsibility.

5. Today we forget that Netflix and other platforms are actually helping to create a lot of work opportunities for our artists which we all need to appreciate. Also they are providing our artists with international platforms. I talk to a lot of international filmmakers and today they are dying to work in India... top talent in the world is today getting attracted to India. In fact, it has also had a positive influence on our movies. The filmmakers today are pushing themselves more than ever to create world class content.

6. Now a lot of the fringe elements  anyway don't respect the CBFC. Tell me the last time when they accepted CBFC as the ultimate authority. With Netflix they can't stop a film from getting released in a particular theater. In fact there is every possibility that someone in their house would be watching the very show they are trying to oppose. That's how the web operates and obviously these people don't seem to have a clue about it.

7. Now, the political parties cannot pick and choose. When the first season of Sacred Games came out it was celebrated by the BJP and allied parties because it criticized Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. And now suddenly that the second season criticizes the proponents of extreme Hinduism everybody has problems with it. You can either be for freedom of speech or against it. It cannot be a matter of convenience. 

8. Lastly here I would like to add that let's not take entertainment too seriously. No religion is so fragile that a show can undermine all their good doings. I don't remember any religion leader taking offence to the villainous characters played by Pran Sahab or Amjad Sahab or Ajit Sahab. It's only today that we have become so overly sensitive.

Watch NewsX discussion on the issue featuring Film Critic Murtaza Ali Khan

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