The Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) has pulled up Sun TV and slapped a fine of Rs 2.5 lakh for telecasting a violent rape sequence in one of its prime time serial, Kalyana Veedu. Along with the financial penalty, the council has also asked the channel carry an apology before each episode for a week (September 23 to September 28).
As per reports, in the episodes aired in May, one character ‘Roja Madam’ informs the men she is hiring to rape her sister that her sister is a virgin but they should have no pity for her in their heart. ‘Roja Madam’ instructs them that they should have no pity, kindness or mercy no matter how much she wails. Later, one of the men then decides to gang rape ‘Roja’ instead to ‘teach her a lesson’. He takes her to bushes and then rapes her. He asks other men to then go and rape her taking turns. Later, in the episode aired in June, another character helps ‘Roja’ avenge the rape by setting genitals of the perpetrators on fire.
The serial is directed by Metti Oli-fame Thirumurugan M, who also appears as the lead in the serial. The order dispersed by the council was based on a complaint received against the controversial episodes aired on May 14 and 15, and June 28 which showed the female antagonist graphically explaining to a group of people how to gang rape her own sister in order to seek revenge.
The complaint received by the council expressed concern that such content would encourage atrocities against women and should not have been aired in such a popular channel with millions of viewership.
BCCC on examining the video clips based on the complaints has said in their order that the content violated the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) guidelines. According to the guidelines laid by IBF, the broadcasters are barred from telecasting any content which glorifies violence, as well as incites the public to obscene or indecent behaviour.
After the council served the notice to the channel and subsequently called them for a hearing, Sun TV and producers, Thiru Pictures in the hearing which was held last month, defended the serial and argued that they had taken precautions to make sure that the dialogues were not vulgar and obscene. However, BCCC was not convinced by the arguments submitted by the channel and has decided to reprimand the channel.
The channel has now apologised to the council and consented to agree to the decision of the council.
Sun TV has agreed to run a 30-second video apology clip in Tamil (whose content was specified by the council itself) for six consecutive days starting from September 23 to 28 on their channel at the beginning of every episode of their serial, Kalyana Veedu, which is aired at 7.30 pm prime time every day as well as during its repeat telecast.
The content of the apology to be aired by the channel which was defined by the council stated: In compliance with BCCC’s directive of 23 August 2019, SUN TV regrets the prolonged depiction of women’s torture, including scenes of gang rape, in the episodes of ‘Kalyana Veedu‘ on 14 and 15th May 2019 and the act of revenge shown in the episode of 28 June 2019. The channel accepts that the social messaging emanating out of the episodes was not constructive and such acts of atrocities committed on women should be condemned.
Sun TV is required to submit a compliance report, along with the original clips of the apology, at BCCC’s Secretariat on or before October 7.