Netflix refused to censor a dialogue where former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is called a ‘wimp’ in its series Sacred Games, PTI reports. “My instructions are that we don’t want to change the word,” senior advocate Chander Lal, who is representing the streaming company in the case, told the Delhi High Court. The judges hearing the case were quoted as saying during arguments, “Nobody is pressing or forcing you. You take your own decision, whether you want to change the word or not. We are not going to compel you.”
In a previous hearing in July, Netflix told the court that they had replaced the English subtitle for the Hindi word ‘fattu‘, now translated as ‘wimp’, used to describe the former Prime Minister. That change had been made before the petition was filed in the Court. The next hearing in the case is in September.
The Delhi High Court case was filed by advocate Nikhil Bhalla because of dialogues about former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. In one line, for instance, the character Ganesh Gaitonde calls Rajiv Gandhi a wimp in Hindi, which a previous version of the subtitles translated as ‘pussy’. Bhalla petitioned for the scenes with such dialogue to be removed.
Soon after that complaint, Congress president Rahul Gandhi — also the former PM’s son — posted this tweet:
BJP/RSS believe the freedom of expression must be policed & controlled. I believe this freedom is a fundamental democratic right.
My father lived and died in the service of India. The views of a character on a fictional web series can never change that.#SacredGames
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 14, 2018
While Bhalla is associated closely with the Congress party — he is chief coordinator of its Delhi chapter’s legal & human rights committee — he did not withdraw his suit like other Congress members had withdrawn their complaints after the above tweets. He said in his petition that he is filing the PIL in a personal capacity. In earlier hearings, the court doubted whether this case can proceed as a PIL, since it seems to be amounting to a ‘private injury’.
Kolkata complaint withdrawn
A Kolkata criminal complaint — the first action against the show — has been withdrawn. MediaNama confirmed that the case has been withdrawn by Rajeev Sinha, the Congress member who filed the petition. Sinha told MediaNama: “After Rahul Gandhi’s tweet, it was an eye-opener for me that Rajiv Gandhi’s sacrifices for the country cannot be clouded by a small dialogue. From someone who forgave his martyred father’s assassins, this is a teaching moment for party workers like us.”
The All India Cine Workers’ Association also filed a complaint against the dialogues in Mumbai. This complaint too has been withdrawn, it emerged from a court hearing in July.