Makers of ‘Godman’ receive summons

Accused of making offensive remarks

An FIR has been registered against Babu Yogeswaran, director, and R. Elango producer, the makers of Zee 5’s web series Godman, for offences including promoting enmity between different groups, wanton vilification or attacks upon the religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc of any particular group or class. They have been booked under Sections 63/20 u/s 153, 153 (A), 295A,504, 505 1(B) and 505(2).

Earlier, they were served summons to appear before the Cyber Crime Cell based on a complaint against them for ‘making denigrating remarks against the Brahmin community in the web series. The case was filed by Sivanarayanan Iyer of ‘World Brahmins Welfare Association’.

The teaser of Godman webseries, starring actor Daniel Balaji and Jayaprakash, featured a line about Brahmins, delivered by a character played by Jayaprakash. It was perceived by some members of the community as derogatory.

Mr. Elango and Mr. Babu Yogeswaran claimed that they have been subjected to targeted online harassment. “We have received close to 2,000 calls,” said Mr. Babu

“This is a story about how a small time crook becomes a godman. It is about how a criminal evolves into a godman. He is a ‘fake’ godman. Obviously, the show discusses the politics of ‘Mutts’ and how they operate. The dialogue was in relation to that only. We do not have or want to promote any ill feelings about Brahmin community or Hindu religion,” said Mr. Elango.

Stating that it was not a work of art made by him and sold to Zee 5 digital platform, Mr. Elango said that the show was made after extensive consultations with the digital platform. “It is a commissioned work. It is not something that I had produced and sold it to them. It is totally unfair to protest that this show must not come out after watching a one-minute teaser,” he said.

Mr. Elango also said that right-wing groups had also unfairly painted him as the ‘Hari who threw pork at a Hindu temple in Coimbatore’. “Not only was my number shared on WhatsApp groups resulting in abusive and threatening calls, I was mischievously identified as the guy who threw pork at a temple in Coimbatore. I am worried that all this would ultimately lead to my lynching,” he said.

He rejected the criticism made by the Hindu right wing groups that ‘freedom of expression’ is an argument used only to attack only Hindu religion and Brahmin community.

“I supported Kamal Haasan’s ‘Vishwaroopam’ though I oppose Islamophobia. Not just ‘Vishwaroopam’, even ‘Da Vinci Code,’ ‘Draupathiand Trance are movies that should not be stopped, he said.. I will oppose Draupathi democratically but not use extra-constitutional methods to ban a film. We need to co-exist,” he said.

While Babu Yogeshwaran understands that the Brahmin community is feeling angry, he underlined that a line spoken by a character should not be misconstrued as the writer’s opinion.

“In this case, a character played by actor Jayaprakash utters the line after becoming vexed due to his past experience. If that is being taken as my view, then no character can say anything. An opposing view to a work of art is always welcome, but an organised hate campaign cannot be justified. Many members from the Brahmin community have done it in this case,” he said.

A tweet from Zee 5 Tamil said: “Basis feedback received with reference to our Tamil fiction show Godman, we have decided to suspend the release of this show at this moment. The producers show Zee 5 had no intent whatsoever of offending or hurting any community, religious or personal beliefs or sentiments.”

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Printable version | Jul 13, 2020 11:34:30 AM |

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