Sometimes I think people in this country have too much time on their hands. Sure, poverty and employment are important issues but, it would seem that more and more people, especially those with a certain degree of power and influence, seem to be more bothered by the smallest of ‘slights’ or alleged misrepresentations in films or TV Shows.
First, it was Padmaavat and now, it’s Netflix’s first Indian original series which is the target, a complaint against Sacred Games.
Directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, Netflix’s Sacred Games starring Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui has opened to uniformly excellent reviews from critics and viewers alike. Alas, that’s not why the show is in news today.
Gist of the Complaint
Rajiv Sinha, a member of the West Bengal Congress State Unit has filed a complaint against Sacred Games, charging it with allegedly misrepresenting facts and its primary antagonist, Gaitonde of cussing late PM Rajiv Gandhi by calling him Fattu (A Pu*sy, as translated by the subtitles on Netflix).
This cussing was the antagonist’s characterization of the PM in light of the Shah Bano case of the 1980’s.
The exact dialogue was as follows, “In 1986, Shah Bano’s husband divorced (triple-talaq) her. She took her husband to the court for maintenance and won. But, our PM, Rajiv Gandhi, that p*ssy said, ‘Shut up, woman’ and overturned the decision.”
Is Sacred Games guilty of Misrepresentation?
So, is there any truth to what he claims the show states? Well, yes.
Gaitonde, portrayed by Siddiqui does indeed call ex-PM Rajiv Gandhi a Fattu. But, is there any truth to the complaint against Sacred Games? Does it misrepresent or distort facts? NO.
Facts confirm the narrative presented in Sacred Games. Under a lot of pressure from orthodox Muslim communities, PM Rajiv Gandhi did indeed cower and relent by passing a new law that overturned the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Shah Bano case.
This happened to be the first of the many appeasement policies Rajiv Gandhi would tend to follow over his tenure, both towards Muslims as well as Hindus (Rajiv Gandhi was the first major politician to raise the slogan of Ram Rajya and pressured the Allahabad HC to open the gates to the Babri Masjid).
So no, Sacred Games did not misrepresent facts. It stated what had happened in the 1980s.
Is Sacred Games guilty of Abusing or Defaming an ex-PM?
What about the language then? Fattu? Is that even an abuse? No, not really. All it refers to is someone who is too spineless to take any solid action.
I have heard kids on the streets call each other worse. It’s a negative characterization sure, but it doesn’t amount to abuse.
Even if we argue it was one, doesn’t a fictional character on a TV show have any freedom of speech, not even the freedom to abuse anyone he wants?
It’s not even defamatory because under Indian law, any such statement must be based on false representation and distortion of facts. Did that happen in this particular case? No. Not at all.
It’s a shame that good shows like Sacred Games are dragged through the mud for the most frivolous of reasons. What’s worse, is that some people are so intent on grabbing headlines, they’ll push forth the most ridiculous of charges and the dumbest of agendas anywhere and everywhere.
I doubt any concrete action will be taken for this ‘complaint’ against Sacred Games. After all, if it is considered as one, aren’t we all guilty of stoking a fire where it isn’t necessary?
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