• The Indian government summoned Amazon Prime Video officials due to the controversy surrounding the series "Tandav"
  • The makers of the series were accused of allegedly disrespecting “Hindu religious sentiments”
  • Director Ali Abbas Zafar said he just wanted to make a series that was "set in the middle of Indian politics"

Amazon Prime Video's India officials have been summoned by the Indian government over the controversy surrounding the recently-launched series, “Tandav.”

The Information & Broadcasting Ministry (I&B Ministry) has asked the streaming service to be present before the government as an FIR has been lodged against the makers of “Tandav” for allegedly disrespecting “Hindu religious sentiments,” Indian news agency ANI first reported.

The summon comes after a leader from India’s biggest party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), urged the I&B Ministry to ban the series for “mocking Hindu gods.” The lettter, written by BJP leader Manoj Kotak, also claimed that Prime Video and other streaming platforms are encouraging “violence, drugs, abuse, hate, and vulgarity” through their content.

The complaint was filed due to a scene where actor Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub portrays the character of Lord Shiva in a stage play, Variety reported.

Speaking about the controversy, Ali Abbas Zafar, director of the series, told Variety that he just wanted to make a series that was “set in the middle of Indian politics, but in a very theatrical way.” He also noted that “Tandav” takes inspiration from poet William Shakespeare and some of his iconic plays such as “Othello,” “Macbeth” and “Julius Caesar.”

“This show could be placed in the U.S. or U.K. or Russia or the Middle East or anywhere else in the world — you could just change the names of the characters and the way they act and the way they use or misuse the power would be exactly the same, hence Shakespeare,” Variety quoted Zafar as saying.

“Tandav” chronicles the journey of various characters trying to stay relevant in the Indian political system by any means. It takes the viewers inside the closed, chaotic doors of power and manipulation and uncovers the darkest lanes of Indian politics.

The show features critically-acclaimed actors and actresses such as Saif Ali Khan (“Sacred Games”), Dimple Kapadia (“Tenet”), Tigmanshu Dhulia (“Gangs of Wasseypur), Sarah Jane Dias (“Zubaan”) and more.

This is not the first time that a streaming platform has been part of a controversy in India. In December, the Indian Air Force (IAF) slammed Netflix for showing objectionable scenes in the movie “AK vs AK.” In the film, Anil Kapoor, known for his role in Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire,” can be seen using abusive language and beating up people while wearing an IAF uniform.

The Air Force also indicated that the language used in the controversial scenes does not go with the “behavioral norms” of those who are serving the nation.

Meanwhile, another controversy erupted over some scenes in the movie “A Suitable Boy,” which showed a Muslim boy kissing a Hindu girl against the backdrop of a Hindu temple.

Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan in a scene from the Amazon Prime Video series "Tandav" Amazon Prime Video/Tandav