‘Tandav’, a nine-episode political thriller, started streaming on Amazon Prime on January 15.
The web series stars Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub among others.
Actress Konkona Sen Sharma takes dig at Supreme Court’s refusal to grant interim protection from arrest over Tandav row
Earlier, reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision, actor Gauahar Khan retweeted one tweet that took a jibe at the order and posted a “face with monocle” emoji.
Set in Delhi, Tandav revolves around the themes of power, ambition and greed in the world of politics.
‘Tandav’, a nine-episode political thriller, started streaming on Amazon Prime on January 15.
Soon after it released  in OTT space, the series drew admiration across various sectors and so far been watched more than 50 million viewers  and the ire of a section of politicians mainly from Ruling BJP as well as Hindutva based outlets supporters who claimed the show provokes communal disharmony and hurts Hindu sentiments.
According to the complaints, a scene featuring Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub performing a college play insults the Hindu deity Shiv.
Earlier, the actors and makers of web series Tandav on Amazon Prime had on Wednesday urged Supreme Court to grant them protection from arrest in several FIRs registered across the country, but the top court declined to accede to their request, and instead made some sharp observations on the show’s content and stressed that freedom of speech is not absolute.
The petitioners were represented by senior advocates Fali Nariman, Mukul Rohatgi (for Amazon India Creative Head Aparna Purohit), senior advocate Sidharth Luthra (for producer Himanshu Mehra, director Ali Abbas Zafar and writer Gaurav Solanki), and advocate Siddharth Agarwal (for actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub).
Agarwal argued that the views of a character depicted in the web series cannot be ascribed to the actor’s personal view.
His client was contacted to play a certain role, and it had nothing to with him as an individual, he told a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah.
At this, Justice Shah orally observed, “You cannot play a role which hurts the religious sentiments of others.” He emphasised that the actor must have read the script which included the contentious part.
Agarwal argued that it was a fictional character and there should not be multifarious investigation on the same issue.
The bench said it is not inclined to entertain this aspect in an Article 32 petition. The bench also remarked during the hearing that freedom of speech is not absolute.
The counsel said the crew involved in the web series has done nothing wrong and everyday, there could be an FIR against them. “This case may lead to great harassment of people,” they argued.
Rohatgi requested the top court to grant protection from arrest for the petitioners. The bench replied it is not going to that, and instead will examine the possibility of clubbing the FIRs. “We cannot use the power under Section 482 CrPC. We are not inclined to grant interim protection,” it said.
The petitioners’ lawyers persuaded the bench for granting interim protection and cited similar orders granted in the cases of journalists Arnab Goswami and Amish Devgan.
They argued that in the absence of any protection, the petitioners will have to file bail applications in different districts in different states.
Nariman and Rohatgi submitted that nothing survives in the matter as the objectionable part, which hurt the so-called religious sentiments of people, have already been removed. “FIRs are registered in 6 states. And it`s increasing every day. Now we have 7 in the last 5 days,” they submitted.
After a detailed hearing in the matter, the top court only issued notice on clubbing various FIRs registered across the country and asked the petitioners to move to high courts for quashing the FIRs or for bail in the matters.
The BJP Government led by Yogi in Uttar pradesh state where aleast three FIRs have been lodged in UP against the makers and artists of the web series.
The four have been booked in Lucknow under sections
153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race and so on),
295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class),
501 (1)(B) (public mischief with intent to cause fear or alarm) of the IPC and under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.
Besides Zafar, Amazon Prime India head Aparna Purohit, producer Himanshu Mehra, the show’s writer Gaurav Solanki and actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub have filed three separate petitions against the registration of FIRs in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.