When A Suitable Boy was released on Netflix on 23 October, it was an instant hit and its actors, including Ishaan Khatter, Tabu and Rasika Dugal gained a lot of praise for their performances from fans worldwide.
But little could they have imagined that the series would lead to controversy for showing a couple - the Muslim Kabir Dhurani (played by Danesh Razvi) and the Hindu Lata (Tanya Maniktala) - kissing inside a temple.
This has outraged certain people on social media for allegedly “offending Hindu sentiments” and invoking “Love Jihad”, a term used for a purported conspiracy of Muslim men to marry women of another faith to convert them to to Islam.
Since then #BoycottNetflixIndia has been trending on Indian Twitter.
Reality show host Rahul Mahajan took to the site and wrote in Hindi, "A Muslim man kissing a Hindu woman during the Ram Aarti was ‘creative freedom’. But if a Hindu man and Muslim woman were to kiss in a mosque during Azaan (prayer), this creative freedom would be removed."
मुस्लिम लड़के द्वारा हिंदू लड़की के साथ मंदिर प्रांगण में श्रीराम की आरती के दौरान ‘किसिंग सीन’ - इसे कहते हैं ‘क्रीएटिव फ़्रीडम’— Rahul Pramod Mahajan (@TheRahulMahajan) November 21, 2020
हाँ पर अगर कोई निर्माता हिंदू लड़के और मुस्लिम लड़की का मस्जिद में अजान के वक्त ‘किसिंग सीन’ शूट कर दे तो यह ‘क्रीएटिव फ़्रीडम’ छुट्टी पर चली जाएगी। https://t.co/WpD0QKfzhH
On Sunday, Madhya Pradesh State’s Home Minister Narottam Mishra posted a video on Twitter and wrote, “A film titled ‘A Suitable Boy’ has been released on an OTT platform. It depicts extremely objectionable scenes that hurt the feelings of a particular religion. I have directed police officials to look into it."
एक #ओटीटी_मीडिया_प्लेटफॉर्म पर "A Suitable Boy" नामक फ़िल्म जारी की गई है। इसमें बेहद आपत्तिजनक दृश्य दिखाए गए हैं जो एक धर्म विशेष की भावनाओं को आहत करते हैं। मैंने पुलिस अधिकारियों को इस विवादास्पद कंटेंट का परीक्षण कराने को निर्देशित किया है। pic.twitter.com/oYSiizJxCQ— Dr Narottam Mishra (@drnarottammisra) November 22, 2020
BJP politician and advocate Gaurav Goel took to social media and said that, “if any OTT platform is deliberately insulting the Hindu Gods & Goddesses, please file a complaint with the police or local court."
If any OTT platform is delibrately insulting the Hindu Gods & Goddess, pls file the complaint with the police or local court under Section 295A of IPC. The law will take care of such offenders.— Gaurav Goel (@goelgauravbjp) November 22, 2020
In case of any assistance you can contact me or @chakusameer#BoycottNetflix
Many netizens condemned the scene and expressed their disgust on Twitter.
What @NetflixIndia shown in #ASuitableBoy is very objectionable and vulgar, we condemn this and demand for action, pls remove it, no one have rights to play with religious sentiments, Every God and every religion worship place should be respected. #BoycottNetflixIndia #Netflix pic.twitter.com/cejZCp7K6X— Farhan Ashfaq (@farhanqaafa) November 22, 2020
#ASuitableBoy controversy is correct..story based in 1950s showing kissing in public itself is silly..to top it they make it bizarre by filming these scenes in a temple which wont even happen in modern India..cinematic liberties cannot turn into stupidities .— Chetana Gautam (@chetana_cg) November 22, 2020
#ASuitableBoy has a lot of communally provoking scenes other than the temple make-out scene— Vasudha (@WordsSlay) November 22, 2020
One shows goons donning tikas beating Muslims during a riot, another shows a Hindu saving his Muslim friend from such goons, Hindus building a temple forcibly outside a Masjid etc etc
But some netizens have criticised the trolls and called them out for their hypocrisy and referred to the Kama Sutra which is part of ancient Hindu scriptures, and the Sun Temple in Odisha State in India that has erotic sculptures, too.
People criticizing Netflix and trending #BoycottNetflixIndia just because it showed a kissing scene was shown in temple. I find that absolutely ridiculous after realizing that Kamasutra was in our scriptures. pic.twitter.com/lyYvkzfFAa— A. (@TheRampShot) November 22, 2020