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Sacred Games row: Congress member Rajeev Kumar Sinha admits to filing complaint in individual capacity


While Congress national spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi had told us yesterday that the party had not taken an official stance against the show, Sinha said he had filed the complaint in an individual capacity.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Sacred Games

Mayur Lookhar

Sacred Games, the mini-series which was launched on digital streaming platform Netflix, on 6 July, courted controversy after Rajeev Kumar Sinha, a Congress party member from Kolkata had filed a complaint against the show and its makers for allegedly insulting former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. The show is the adaptation of author Vikram Chandra's book of the same name and features Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead roles.

While Congress national spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi had told us yesterday that the party had not taken an official stance against the show, Sinha said he had filed the complaint in an individual capacity.

 

Copy of the complaint filed by Rajeev Kumar Sinha

“I don’t know what is the stand of the Congress central or state leadership, but I have filed this complaint in individual capacity. My senior leadership in Kolkata knows about my complaint. The problem is that many of them don’t know about internet shows. Once the news was taken up by the media, they contacted me to know about the issue. A few of them had told me to carry out a protest rally, but I don’t want to do that as it will be perceived as a publicity stunt,” Sinha told Cinestaan.com.

When Sinha was told about Chaturvedi's comment that the party had not taken an official stance against the show, he felt that that may be because many Congress leaders haven’t seen the particular clipping.

“They might have not heard the particular clipping,” said Sinha.

Often in such cases, the issue of freedom of speech comes up in defence of the filmmakers.  Sinha is, however, not convinced of that argument.

“Some media people have told me that this is about freedom of speech. I don’t understand movie making. It is a fictional series. My reply to them was, in your fiction series why are you using a real life character? Is your imagination so limited that you had to use the name of a real life character? In the name of freedom of speech, you can’t be using abusive language,” said Sinha.

Sinha had objected to the former prime minister being referred to as a ‘fattu’ and was more aghast at the word ‘pussy’ being used in the sub-titles. The particular content appears in the fourth episode of titled Brahmahatya when Gaitonde (Siddiqui) was critical of the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress government’s decision to to overturn the Supreme Court judgement in the 1985 Shah Bano case, a move that was criticised for pandering to the vote bank.

Jahan Singh Bakshi has been credited for the subtitles.

"A number of changes have been made. Companies like Netflix have a strict standardised code regarding how they want their subtitles. Matters such as the length of the subtitle has to be kept in mind because one has to concentrate on both the scene and the lines," Bakshi told Scroll.in.

The Scroll.in report claimed that Bakshi’s original choice was 'wimp”, which was changed to “pussy” and is now back to “wimp”.  “The subtitles here are not hard coded [meaning they can be changed after the series began streaming]. So changes are still being made after so much feedback, especially, from Vikram Chandra himself,” Bakshi clarified.