Film with a hint that Ram was a meat eater, removed from Netflix under VHP pressure

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    India Tomorrow

    NEW DELHI–Did the Hindu deity Sri Ram eat meat or not? That may be a question of debate and discussion among knowledgeable scholars but a film- Annapoorani: The Goddess of Food- has been removed from the OTT platform Netflix after a police complaint, as the film conveyed that Sri Ram ate meat.

    This removal has been done on a complaint by former Shiv Sena leader Ramesh Solanki who filed a complaint with the police for allegedly hurting Hindu sentiments. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad shouted slogans outside the Netflix office in Mumbai.

    However, many observers have raised the question about the rationale for this removal. This is also the latest proof of intolerance towards alternative views. There seems to be a trend of taking offence of anything that does not fit within some particular belief system giving no room for a dissenting voice. Many believe that Netflix got bogged down too easily and did not show a strong resolve to fight this intolerance.

    After the protest by VHP and the police case by Ramesh Solanki, Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE) was forced to tender an apology. ZEE is the parent company of Zee Studios which is the co-producer of the film.

    The apology letter said that the ZEE had no intention to hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindu and Brahmin community. The mention of the Brahmin community along with the Hindu community was noticeable. The possible reason for mentioning the Brahmin community separately may be that the woman in the film is a Hindu Brahmin.

    It may be mentioned that there was a huge uproar against Shahrukh Khan’s film Pathaan as the colour of Deepika Padukone’s costume was saffron. The film Padmaavat in 2018 was accused of hurting sentiments and there were violent protests by the Karni Sena. In 2001 a show called Tandav was attacked for allegedly mocking Hindu gods.

    This Tamil language film Annapoorani was released on December 1 last year. The film was approved by the Censor Board for Film Certification. Still, it was forced to be banned after getting streamed on Netflix on December 29.

    Annapoorani is the name of a character in the film played by Nayanthara. The film is directed by Nilesh Krishna. Annapoorani is a young Hindu Brahmin who aspires to become a chef in Tamil Nadu despite resistance from her orthodox family, particularly her father hwo is a priest. In the film, she is shown eating meat and later entering a high-stakes cooking contest, where she cooks meat.

    The film was targeted with the accusation that it promoted the so-called ‘love jihad’. A character named Farhan claims in the film that Sri Ram and Sita consumed meat.

    Ramesh Solanki even brought in the Pran Pratishtha and wrote on X : “At a time when the whole world is rejoicing in anticipation of the Pran Pratishtha of Bhagwan Shri Ram Mandir, this anti-Hindu film Annapoorani has been released on Netflix.”

    His main objections were:

    1. A daughter of Hindu Poojari, offers Namaz to cook Biryani.
    2. Love Jihad is promoted in this Film.
    3. Farhan (Actor) persuades the actress to eat meat saying that Bhagwan Shri Ram was also a meat eater.

    However, Mr. Solanki does not mention that the actor quotes Ramayan to prove his point.

    He wrote to Mumbai police to register an FIR against actors Nayanthara, Jai, writer-director Nilesh Krishna, producers Jatin Sethi, R Ravindran, and Punit Goenka, Zee Studios Chief Business Officer Shariq Patel, and the head of Netflix India, Monika Shergill.

    One journalist wrote that the collective sensitivity of the nation had started dictating ‘what we can watch, eat and wear’ and the streaming platforms are kowtowing to the sensitive side.

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