The makers of Amazon Prime Video series Tandav on Monday apologised "unconditionally" if they had unintentionally hurt the sentiments of the people after the show stirred up a controversy for its depiction of Hindu deities.
The statement, tweeted by the show's director Ali Abbas Zafar with a caption "Our sincere apologies", and marked as 'the official statement from the cast & crew of Tandav, said the team had been closely monitoring viewer reactions on the series.
"And today during a discussion, the ministry of information and broadcasting informed us regarding a large number of grievances and petitions received on various facets of the web series with serious concerns and apprehensions regarding its content hurting the sentiments of the people," the statement read.
Calling the series a work of fiction, the team said any resemblance to acts and persons and events was "purely coincidental".
"The cast and crew did not have any intention to offend the sentiments of any individual, caste, community, race, religion or religious beliefs or insult or outrage any institution, political party or person, living or dead.
"The cast and crew of Tandav take cognisance of the concerns expressed by the people and unconditionally apologise if it has unintentionally hurt anybody's sentiments," the statement read.
At the heart of the controversy is a scene that features Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub's college student Shiva playing the Hindu god Mahadev in a theatre production.
Taking cognisance of complaints, the ministry of information and broadcasting had on Sunday sought an explanation from Amazon Prime Video on the issue.
"The ministry has taken cognisance of the matter (complaints) and asked Amazon Prime Video to explain," a source in the ministry had said.
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Manoj Kotak from Mumbai North-East, Madhya Pradesh minister Vishvas Sarang and state Assembly's protem Speaker Rameshwar Sharma were among the politicians who appealed to the Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar to ban the series.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath's media advisor Shalabhmani Tripathi said the makers of "Tandav" will have to pay the price for hurting religious sentiments.
He said four members of the UP police have left for Mumbai for a detailed probe on the case after an FIR was lodged against the show at the Hazratganj police station.
“UP Police has left for Mumbai, that too in a car. There are strong sections in the FIR, remain prepared, will have to pay a price for hurting religious sentiments," Tripathi said in his tweet.
In a tweet earlier, Tripathi said, “Playing with people's sentiments will not be tolerated, cases under stringent sections have been invoked against the team of web series Tandav, which is spreading hatred in the guise of cheap web entertainment, be prepared for arrest soon."
The series, a nine episode drama starring Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Kumud Mishra, Tigmanshu Dhulia, is set in Delhi and begins on the eve of an election results with various players vying for the seat of the Prime Minister.
The government recently brought OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar, besides other online news and current affairs content, under the ambit of the ministry of information and broadcasting.