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Sacred Games: Saif Ali Khan feels one might get ‘killed’ for criticizing govt

Meanwhile, the Congress worker who had filed a complaint against the show has withdrawn the same after being 'inspired' by Rahul Gandhi's comment. 

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Our Correspondent

Web series Sacred Games, featuring actors Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, has run into controversy as its content has irked the Congress party. Party worker Rajeev Kumar Sinha had filed a complaint with the commissioner of police and the joint commissioner of police in Lalbazar (Kolkata) against the show alleging that it insults India's former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Reacting to the matter, Khan has said that this was a reflection of the times we live in. He told digital magazine The Quint, "It’s just the sign of the times. The world is ostensibly a global village. There are different attitudes around every corner. I’m in London, sitting here talking to you, it’s a very free society. People are demonstrating against Trump coming here. The mayor has told them to behave themselves, but they are allowed to express their opinion."

During the course of the talk, he also highlighted how it is not possible to criticize the current government in India. "I don’t know how much you can criticise your government in India, somebody might kill you. In parts of the Middle East, if you say something against Islam, like Salman Rushdie, you have fatwas issued. And the western world says, so terrible there’s no freedom of speech but there isn’t of course, there isn’t in places," said Khan.

He is also concerned about the future of the show. “It will be deeply frustrating if something happens to the show. If someone says you can’t air this or if Netflix is discontinued, then that will be my turn to be outraged. There’s no genuine cause for outrage. We wouldn’t genuinely want to upset anyone. It’s not the style of Netflix. [Directors] Anurag [Kashyap] and Vikram [Vikramaditya Motwane] have not been ridiculous in their violence, their approach to sex or their subject matter. We have not taken advantage of the fact that there’s no censorship,” added Khan.

It may be noted that there has been no action or reaction by the current government in India or anyone from the ruling party BJP. Recently, the state governments from the party in states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan had banned Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat (2018) after the Rajput Karni Sena was up in arms against the film for the alleged offensive portrayal of queen Padmavati.

While taking a dig at the BJP, Rahul wrote on his Twitter page, “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.”

Kashyap, one of the directors of the show, reacted positively to the statement. He quote retweeted the tweet and said, “That’s a yay ...”

Meanwhile, Sinha, the Congress worker who filed a written a complaint against the show, has withdrawn the same after party president Rahul Gandhi tweeted in support of freedom of expression with regards to Sacred Games. Saying that he was ‘inspired’ by Rahul Gandhi’s tweet, he told CNN News 18 that he has “learnt that forgiveness is much bigger than anything else in this mortal world.”

Sacred Games takes a critical stand against Rajiv Gandhi for his involvement in the Bofors scam. There is also an incident when Siddiqui's character called him 'fattu' which is translated as 'pussy' in the subtitles. The show was also critical of the 1975 Emergency imposed by Rajiv Gandhi's mother Indira Gandhi.