Why Netflix is ​​removing the Indian film “Annapoorani: The Food Goddess” from its platform

These stigmatize scenes depicting meat consumption, as well as a romance between the Hindu heroine and a young Muslim man.

“Annapoorani: The Goddess of Food”, which was the second most watched film on the Netflix platform in India the day before its withdrawal, depicts the obstacle-ridden journey of the daughter of a Hindu priest who dreams of becoming the best chef of India. and who faces challenges due to her upbringing within Hinduism.

A complaint filed

She thus abandons the strict vegetarianism in which she was raised, while upper-caste Hindus abstain from consuming meat.

A fellow Muslim helps him navigate the unforgiving world of his culinary school, and the two young men fall in love, coming face to face with one of Indian society’s most enduring taboos: interfaith marriages are unthinkable to traditionalists.

Last week, an activist who was offended by the script filed a complaint with police, saying the film promoted “love jihad,” a derogatory phrase coined by Hindu nationalists who accuse Muslim men of marrying Hindu women. and force them to convert to Islam.

Ramesh Solanki, who filed the complaint, said on X (formerly Twitter) that Netflix and co-producer Zee Studios had “I produced this film deliberately… to hurt the sentiments of Hindus”. He asked the police to initiate action against the lead actors of the film.

A campaign calling for a boycott of the film and its immediate removal from Netflix dominated social media for several days.

The withdrawal of the film Annapoorani from Netflix in India on Thursday, just weeks after its release, sparked jubilation among its detractors.

Shriraj Nair, spokesperson for a group of Hindu activists who criticized the film, said its authors “realized their guilt.”

“We have never interfered with the creative freedom of a film, but denigration and mockery of Hindus will never be tolerated”wrote in X.

Film censorship

AFP contacted Netflix’s Indian subsidiary, which has not yet provided a comment.

India has a long history of film censorship, but the film industry has gradually avoided content that could offend the religious sensibilities of Hindus, whose religion is the majority in the country since Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

In December, the Washington Post reported that Netflix and the Amazon Prime platform had scrapped several projects in India so as not to hurt the feelings of Hindus in this officially secular country.

Anurag Kashyap, a prominent director, told the newspaper that Netflix canceled one of its adaptations in 2021 as part of a campaign to “invisible censorship”.

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