On Monday, the Tamil Nadu government wrote a letter to the Information & Broadcast Minister, Prakash Javdekar, requesting a ban on Amazon Prime’s much-awaited season 2 series – The Family Man starring Manoj Bajpayee and Samantha Akkineni.
The series revolves around a story of an intelligence officer played by Manoj Bajpayee and his job being an analyst at the Threat Analysis and Surveillance Cell (TASC). This particular cell is a branch of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The release of the show’s first season was in September 2019 and is set to release its second season on 4th June 2021. But the Tamil Nadu Government rebelled against the release due to its controversial portrayal of Tamilians in the series. The Tamil Nadu government requested a ban, not in Tamil Nadu but the entire country.
The arguments for a ban are based on the trailer released by the OTT platform Amazon Prime earlier this week. The government laid down their concerns about the representation of the Tamilian Community. According to the Tamil Nadu government, the Raj and DK show ‘depicts the Eelam Tamils in a highly objectionable manner.’ Tamil Nadu, IT Minister T Mano Thangaraj, commented in his article, “I would like to bring to your notice about the condemnable, inappropriate and malicious contents of The Family Man 2 serial in Hindi, which depicts the Eelam Tamils in a highly objectionable manner. The trailer of the above said serial which was released in the social media network is aimed at discrediting and distorting the historical struggle of Eelam Tamils in Sri Lanka,”
Following that, the Tamil Nadu Government also expressed its disagreement on how Samantha Akkineni. She is a ‘Tamil-speaking actress,’ as a terrorist is another folly committed by the makers intentionally. “For example, branding Tamil-speaking actress Samantha as a terrorist in the serial is directly an attack on the pride of Tamils living around the world and no one will tolerate this kind of motivated and mischievous campaign,” the letter stated. Adding to his quote, he said, “I would like to state that the above serial has not only hurt the sentiments of Eelam Tamils but also the feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu in large-scale and if allowed to broadcast, it would be prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony in the state.”
Thangaraj added several spews rising in the state from the political parties and opposition regarding the representation of the community. “While our brethren Eelam Tamils are struggling for decades to enjoy the fruits of equality, justice, peace, and dignity in the island nation, it is highly unwarranted for an organization like Amazon Prime to undertake this kind of a smear campaign against the Tamils who are the builder of India as well as many nations across the globe.”
தமிழீழ விடுதலை போரில் இன்னுயிரீந்த ஈழ போராளிகளையும், தமிழர் பண்பாட்டையும் கொச்சைப்படுத்தும் விதமாக எடுக்கப்படுள்ள "The Family Man 2" என்ற இந்தி தொடர் ஒளிபரப்புவதை உடனடியாக தடை செய்யவேண்டும் என மத்திய அமைச்சர் @PrakashJavdekar அவர்களுக்கு கடிதம் எழுதியுள்ளேன்.
— Mano Thangaraj (@Manothangaraj) May 24, 2021
Top leader Seeman of Naam Tamilar Katchi alleged that The Family Man 2 web series attempted to show the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as terrorists and Tamils as vicious and demanded that its airing be called off. Vaiko, General Secretary of MDMK, even wrote a letter seeking the series’ ban.
Stop Streaming #TheFamilyMan2 web series, else we Thamizhs all over the world may have to lead a Massive Campaign to Boycott all @amazon Services, including Prime Video.https://t.co/eMCi1AqP8m@aparna1502 @PrimeVideoIN pic.twitter.com/czbSElgnM7
— சீமான் (@SeemanOfficial) June 6, 2021
The makers and the cast are astonished by the kind of reaction from the Tamil Nadu Government over the trailer’s release. The cast led by Manjoy Bajpayee tried to come out and negotiate the terms with the government. In his statement, he sincerely requested Tamil Nadu to watch the series first and then decide for themselves about banning the show. He initiated his concern, expressing how the government judges the book by its cover and makes apprehensions about the series over a few seconds. The trailer does not justify their allegations. Whereas a considerable majority of the crew and the cast itself are from the Tamilian community and would never create something that portrays the community in a negative light, the show’s actor explained it.
This is not the first time in the entertainment industry that the governments have objected to TV series and movies based on actual events or socio-political plots. Representation of any community or incidence is something that the creators hold responsible for to avoid such controversies. The Information & Broadcast Ministry is yet to take any action on the same and hasn’t released any statements.