Annapoorani: Why was Nayanthara’s Tamil film removed from Netflix?

Streaming platform Netflix has taken down actress Nayanthara’s Annapoorani, following increased protests against the recently released Tamil movie for allegedly hurting the sentiments of Hindu community and defaming Lord Ram.

Actress Nayanthara in Annapoorani. Photo credit: Free Press Journal
Actress Nayanthara from a scene in Annapoorani. Photo credit: Free Press Journal

Ramesh Solanki, the founder of the Hindu IT cell, filed a complaint against the film, prompting the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) spokesperson, Shriraj Nair, to issue a warning to Netflix regarding the removal of the film.

For those unversed, the film released in theatres on December 1 and later on Netflix.

What is the controversy?

Several people called the film ‘anti-Hindu’ and accused the makers of demeaning Lord Ram in it by showing a character, belonging to a different religion, asking lead actress Nayanthara to eat meat as “Bhagwan Shri Ram was also a meat-eater”.

The makers have also been accused of promoting love jihad. Several political leaders have also lashed out at the makers by pointing out a scene which shows a temple priest’s daughter, played by Nayanthara, offering namaz wearing ‘hijab’ before making biryani.

Activists of two right wing outfits have also filed separate complaints in Mumbai against Nayanthara and others associated with Annapoorani.

According to PTI, an official said, “A complaint was submitted by the activists of Bajrang Dal to the Oshiwara police station in western suburbs two days ago, and an inquiry in this connection is underway.”

Another complaint was filed at the Lokmanya Tilak Marg police station in South Mumbai by Ramesh Solanki. According to his complaint, the film demeans Lord Ram and it was intentionally released to hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus.

Protest in Mumbai

A massive protest was held in Mumbai on Thursday (January 11) morning outside the Netflix office over the controversial dialogues against Lord Ram in the film. Members of VHP raised slogans outside the office and demanded that the film be taken down from the platform.

Activists waved their party flags and also demanded the boycott of the Nayanthara-starrer. The activists were later detained by the Mumbai Police and were made to leave the site.

Makers react to the controversy

Post the massive uproar, Zee Studios, which is one of the producers of Annapoorani, issued a statement, promising that the scene will be edited and the film will be taken off Netflix until the time the necessary changes were not made.

“We have no intentions as co-producers of the film to hurt religious sentiments of the Hindus and Brahmin community and would like to hereby apologise for the inconvenience caused and hurt caused to the sentiments of the respective communities,” the statement read.

Netflix has now taken down the film from their platform.

About Annapoorani

Directed by Nilesh Krishnaa, Annapoorani stars Nayanthara in the titular role. It also features Karthik Kumar, Jai, Sathyaraj and Poornima Ravi in pivotal roles.

The film revolves around Annapoorani, who comes from a traditional Brahmin household in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu. Despite belonging to a conservative setting, she aspires to reach the pinnacle of the culinary world in India. However, her journey is fraught with challenges as she grapples with the conflict between her passion for cooking and adherence to orthodox beliefs.

Annapoorani later decides to break away from her comfort zone and starts consuming meat, to understand the food better. Subsequently, she participates in a cooking competition, a crucial step towards realising her dreams.

Nayanthara has not reacted to the controversy yet.

(The article is published under a mutual content partnership arrangement between The Free Press Journal and Connected to India)