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Supreme Court issues notice to Centre, Amazon Prime Video for ‘Mirzapur’
2 min read.Updated: 21 Jan 2021, 06:19 PM ISTLata Jha
The petition asks the Supreme Court to direct the government to ban the show, set up a pre-screening committee before content is released on OTT platforms and make certification mandatory for it, besides censoring it like theatrical films
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the Centre, video streaming service Amazon Prime Video, and makers of crime drama Mirzapur---Excel Entertainment--in a plea seeking a ban on the series, according to a report by legal news portal Live Law.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde heard the plea filed by Sujeet Kumar Singh, a resident of Mirzapur, who said the intent of the plea is to protect the historical and cultural value of the district located in Uttar Pradesh, which the show attempts to mar through its violent and explicit portrayal.
Amazon declined to comment on the story. Excel Entertainment and the information and broadcasting ministry did not respond to Mint's queries.
Mirzapur, that released a second season this October, tells the tale of two warring families in small-town India marked by lawlessness, gang rivalries, and crime. It features Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Divyenndu, Vikrant Massey, Rasika Duggal, and Kulbhushan Kharbanda in lead roles. It has been produced Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani’s Excel Entertainment.
By showing every resident of Mirzapur as a "goon, vagabond and adulterer in front of the country", the petition says, the web series has "completely tarnished the historical and cultural image of the city/district" which is famous for its religious and natural spots. Apart from nudity, vulgarity and abusive language, the petition makes a case for residents of Mirzapur who feel people outside the city view them with suspicion after the show, said the report by Live Law.
Such movies and web series, it adds, are a “clear violation of the dictum of the Supreme Court to block the publication or transmission of obscene material in any electronic form, transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act or conduct and also publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit act or conduct forthwith."
The petition asks the Supreme Court to direct the government to ban the show, set up a pre-screening committee before content is released on OTT platforms and make certification mandatory for it, besides censoring it like theatrical films. An inquiry has also been sought to be initiated against Excel Entertainment, Amazon Prime Video as well as the actors of Mirzapur under Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, Cinematograph Act, and Information Technology Act, 2000.
This is the second controversy for Amazon this week. Earlier, the team of its latest original Tandav had agreed to make changes to portions that were found objectionable on the show after the ministry of information and broadcasting intervened to look into the complaints against it. FIRs had been filed against the Tandav team for allegedly depicting Hindu gods in a manner hurtful to religious sentiment of people and inciting caste violence.
To be sure, Tandav is the first web original to officially make changes since OTT content was brought under the ambit of the I&B ministry this November. There are, however, no guidelines on regulation of web content yet though the arena is fast getting embroiled in controversies.