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Suspension of Godman series by Zee5 is a serious threat to freedom of expression: Makers- Cinema express

Suspension of Godman series by Zee5 is a serious threat to freedom of expression: Makers

Calling it a move to squash their freedom of expression, the team said that the controversy was intentionally engineered by “unconstitutional forces” in the name of religion

Published: 03rd June 2020

The web series Godman, which caused a stir for its purportedly controversial content regarding Hindu ideology, was recently suspended by the OTT platform ZEE5. An announcement to this effect was made through the official Twitter handle of the streaming platform.

Now, the makers of the series have come up with a statement condemning the suspension. Calling it a move to squash their freedom of expression, the team said that the controversy against Godman was intentionally engineered by “unconstitutional forces” in the name of community and religion.

"The Tamil Nadu Brahmin community has come together like an army to file criminal cases in almost every police station all over the state demanding the show to be canceled. This included several complaints in Chennai too. All these complaints raised by Brahmin factions were just based on a 1-minute teaser for a show that is 380 minutes long," the statement read. 

The makers also claim that they are being continuously harassed over the phone by people of the Brahmin community for the past one week. "They are spreading vicious rumours that the producer is a Christian stooge and his agenda is to create a communal riot through this show. They, through the likes of Subramaniya Swami, who hold influence with the Central Government, have threatened the bosses of Zee5 to stop the release of the show. Zee5 did cave in and that led the aggressors to make announcements of victory by threats via social media. This is throttling of the freedom of expression that the state promises," the makers said.

A complaint has been filed against Elango Raghupathy, the show's producer, and Babu Yogeshwaran, the director, by Subramaniya Iyer, the president of the World Brahmin's Welfare Association, under seven sections of the IPC, and the charges include promoting enmity between different groups, wanton vilification of attacks against a religion, race, language, etc.

"These groups have created an uproar of hate, going by the one minute teaser, without any understanding of the series’ story, intentions, characterisations, or the context of dialogues . This is an act of fascism by Brahmin fanatic groups, some of whom have gone to all possible lengths in curbing our democratic rights to freedom of expression. Not only do their extreme actions take away our constitutional freedoms of speech and expression as stated in the Indian Constitution, if this prevails, it will set a bad precedent for artists, creators and storytellers of the future," the makers said, in the statement.

The series, starring Daniel Balaji, Jayaprakash and Soniya Agarwal, reportedly traces the transformation of a gangster into a 'spiritual leader', with the guidance of a guru who believes priesthood is not restricted to a particular caste or community.

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