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Zee5 suspends release of controversial Tamil web-series Godman

The show, which was to stream from 12 June, is about a low-life criminal and womanizer, who is brainwashed into becoming a godman.

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Zee5 Tamil has confirmed that it is suspending the release of its upcoming controversial Tamil web-series, Godman, after facing severe backlash and criticism from religious factions. The show, which was scheduled to stream from 12 June, is about Ayyanar, played by Daniel Balaji, a low-life criminal and womanizer, who is brainwashed into becoming a godman.

The teaser of the show was released a few days ago. Since then, the show has been mired in controversies over a line in the teaser, where a character asks: “Where does it say only Brahmins can read Vedas?" It has received a lot of flak for taking potshots at Brahmins and the religious beliefs of Hindus.

Reacting to the uproar over the show’s theme, Zee5 has released a statement, confirming that they are suspending the show. “Based on the feedback received with reference to our Tamil fiction show Godman, we have decided to suspend the release of this show at this moment. The producers, Zee5, had no intent whatsoever of offending or hurting any community's religious or personal beliefs or sentiments,” it read.

On Monday, BJP spokesperson Narayanan Thirupathy had filed a complaint against the series, alleging that its trailer is degrading the Brahmin community. Following that, a summons was issued asking the director Babu Yogeeswaran and producer to appear before the police.

Balaji, who plays the title character, has also been receiving abusive calls ever since the teaser was released. Talking to The News Minute, a digital news platform, the actor said: “I am being personally targeted by certain groups. They assume I am Christian and question my intention in playing the role. The ‘Daniel’ prefix in my name actually comes from having played a character with that name in my first role in the TV serial Chitthi. They first question how I can play the role of a godman when I am a Christian, and then allege that I have insulted Hinduism and Brahmanism. And they have come to this conclusion through just a teaser.” 

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