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Netflix Removes Annapoorani After A Backlash From Hindu Groups

An Indian film that received an adverse reaction for “hurting Hindu religious sentiments” has been removed from Netflix a few days after it began streaming.

Netflix said the Tamil film Annapoorani: The Goddess of Food was removed on a request from its licensor.

The actress Nayanthara is playing the role of a Hindu Brahmin woman in the film who wants to become a chef.

She is shown eating meat and trying to cook it, becoming antagonistic towards her family’s religious beliefs.

Because of strict caste rules, many Brahmins do not eat meat.

Because of this aspect of the movie and another scene in which the actress is shown offering prayer before cooking Biryani, members of hardline Hindu organizations had objected to this movie.

Some Hindus also have objected to a scene where a Muslim character says that the Hindu god Ram ate meat.

The film’s producers have not officially argued on the issue until now.

A complaint has also been filed by police in Madhya Pradesh state against Nayanthara and two other actors of the film.

In recent years, followers of hardline Hindu groups have alleged many films and shows of disrespecting religious beliefs. In 2021, the cast and crew of an Amazon Prime show, Tandav, apologized after being accused of making fun of Hindu gods.

On 1 December, Annapoorani was released in theaters and got mixed reviews from critics. It was appreciated for showing a woman from a conservative family following her dreams, but some titled it “an-all-you-can-eat buffet of undercooked subplots”.

India’s Central Board of Film Certification, known as the censor board, which inspects movies for public presentation, had cleared this movie.

On 29 December, it began streaming on Netflix and the objection began when people started watching it on Netflix.

Last week, a man named Ramesh Solanki filed a police complaint in Mumbai, criticizing too many scenes – a case that hasn’t been registered there still now. Mr. Solanki introduced himself as a “proud Hindu Indian nationalist” on X (formerly Twitter).

According to a report by Reuters, members of the hardline Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) raised slogans outside the Netflix office in Mumbai.

Mr. Solanki and a VHP spokesperson shared a letter of apology on Thursday from Zee Entertainment Enterprises, the parent company of Zee Studios, which co-produced the criticized movie.

The letter was, “We have no intentions as co-producers of the film to hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindus and Brahmins community.”

It also said the producers would tackle the issues with the film and were trying with Netflix to remove the film from its platform “until edited”.

Zee did not give any answer to the BBC’s email-seeking comment.

Some people agree with the step of removing the movie from Netflix, while others say that they are not happy with this. While actress Parvathy Thiruvothu said this would set a “dangerous precedent”.

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