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Changed 'Insulting' Subtitle in Sacred Games, Netflix Tells Delhi HC

The court questioned if Netflix had correctly translated the word in the subtitle and asked the platform to examine such parts in the web series, adding that it did not want to curtail the freedom of speech and expression.


Updated:July 19, 2018, 8:43 PM IST
Changed 'Insulting' Subtitle in Sacred Games, Netflix Tells Delhi HC
A still from the trailer of Sacred Games. (Courtesy: YouTube)
New Delhi: Netflix informed the Delhi high court on Thursday that a change had been incorporated in the English subtitle of the Sacred Games, a web series, to remedy an alleged insult to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

In the fourth episode of the series, lead actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui calls Gandhi ‘fattu’ and the translation had led to a controversy, with a Congress worker filing a complaint in court.

“Now, we are using word ‘wimp’ as the English translation of Hindi word ‘fattu’,” the platform’s counsel told a bench of justice Sanjiv Khanna and justice Chander Shekhar.

As to the bench’s query about the meaning of ‘fattu’, the counsel said it means ‘coward’.

The court questioned if they had correctly translated the word in the subtitle and asked Netflix to examine such parts in the web series.

However, it said it did not want to curtail the freedom of speech and expression. “Criticism or even expression of dissatisfaction is permissible. I do not think anyone can have objection to it,” the bench said.

The court remarked that freedom of speech is on a higher pedestal even when someone is criticising people associated with politics, adding that it is the viewer’s choice what they want to see.

The court reiterated its queries as to whether the plea could be entertained as a public interest litigation and asked the petitioner to satisfy how the court could intervene. The PIL — filed by lawyer Nikhil Bhalla through advocate Shashank Garg — sought the removal of two contents that according to him “tarnished” the image of the former prime minister.

The lawyer claimed that the series incorrectly depicted historical events such as Bofors scandal, Shah Bano case, Babri Masjid demolition and communal riots.

During the course of hearing, the lawyer apprised the court that Rajiv Gandhi’s son and Congress president Rahul Gandhi had not raised any objection to the series and supported freedom of speech.

However, the court warned Netflix not to take it for granted and remain careful while broadcasting any series.

The court listed the matter for August 6.

Sacred Games is directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane and was produced in partnership with Phantom Films. Shooting for the first season was completed on January 28 this year and all eight episodes were made available for streaming on July 6.

It is the first political drama to come from Netflix in India and it took just five days for it to land in trouble. Apart from Siddiqui, the show stars Saif Ali Khan and Radhika Apte. The story revolves around a police officer who tries to thwart a terrorist attack in Mumbai after being warned by a notorious criminal.

(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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