District and sessions court in Jodhpur, Rajasthan has sent a notice to filmmaker Prakash Jha and actor Bobby Deol seeking their stand on a plea taking offence to the controversial portrayal of Hindu saints in their recently released OTT web series Aashram. The matter has been listed for hearing on January 11.
A local resident Khush Khandelwal has filed the petition in the Jodhpur court, contending that the portrayal of actor Bobby Deol in the web series as a morally depraved Hindu saint has belittled the image of Hindu saints and has hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus.
“The portrayal of Deol as a Hindu saint has hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus, who respect and worship saints. His portrayal as a rapist, corrupt and drug dealer has diminished the place saints hold for Hindus,” Khandelwal wrote in his petition.
Issuing notices to Jha and Deol, Jodhpur District and Session Judge Ravindra Joshi listed the matter for hearing on January 11.
Deol’s role in Ashram
In the recently released, actor Bobby Deol’s debut digital series, the actor has played the lead role, which portrays a Hindu sadhu as a man who exploits young girls, is involved with the drug trade, and other dark realities. The MX Player’s web series ‘Aashram’ ran into controversy for insulting Hindus and India’s spiritual history, with many people demanding a ban on the series.
Petitioner Khush Khandelwal had earlier complained to the Jodhpur police, seeking registration of an FIR against the duo, but the police refused to lodge any case over his complaint. He had also moved the court of the additional chief judicial magistrate with the same plea. However, with the ACJMM also dismissing his plea, Khandelwal approached the Jodhpur district and session judge challenging the ACJJM’s decision.
OTT platforms and controversies
In the month of June, a controversial web series – ‘Godman’, was suspended from being released on OTT platforms Zee5 after it faced a lot of criticism over its alleged Hinduphobic storyline. Almost during the same time, another controversy was kicked up after Netflix’s Telugu film “Krishna and his Leela” showed a male character named Krishna having sexual encounters with many women, one of them with a girl named Radha. People on social media had protested against the controversial content of the film which they felt was Hinduphobic and an insult to Hinduism. Anushka Sharma produced web series Pataal Lok, which was released on Amazon Prime, had also faced flak for its content.