Netflix India draws ire over a scene in A Suitable Boy

A police complaint has been filed by a political leader.


KOLKATA: Netflix India has landed in yet another controversy – this time, over a kissing scene in the series A Suitable Boy. The sequence depicting a Hindu girl kissing a Muslim boy against the backdrop of a Hindu temple seems to have offended a section of viewers as well as right-wing political leaders.

The outrage is not limited to #boycott anymore. Bharatiya Janata Party’s youth wing leader Gaurav Tiwari filed a police complaint about the drama for “shooting kissing scenes under temple premises.” The complaint named Netflix India VP content Monica Shergill and public policy director Ambika Khurana. According to Tiwari, the show encourages ‘love jihad’.

Narottam Mishra, the minister of home affairs in the government of Madhya Pradesh, also said on Twitter that he has asked the police to examine this controversial content. "This has extremely objectionable content which hurts the sentiments of people of a particular religion,"  Mishra commented.

A Suitable Boy is based on a 1993 novel by Vikram Seth and revolves around a young Hindu woman struggling with her mother's edict that she must soon be wed. The six-part series, originally produced by the BBC, is directed by acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair, who is known for her big screen ventures like The Namesake, Queen of Katwe, and Monsoon Wedding.

This isn’t the first time the streaming giant has found itself in hot water with Indian audiences. Calls of #BoycottNetflix did the rounds on social media over the Telugu film Krishna and His Leela, apparently for associating the names of Hindu deities with erotic content. Deepa Mehta’s web-series Leila also stoked controversy, with naysayers claiming the show was propagating ‘Hinduphobia’. More recently, it was embroiled in a legal tussle over its documentary Bad Boy Billionaires when the fugitive moguls featured in the series challenged its broadcast in court.

The timing of the outcry is also to be noted, coming on the back of a recent government notification bringing content on OTT platforms under the regulatory ambit of the ministry of information and broadcasting.

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