Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Lawsuits and Complaints against the GODMAN

Lawsuits and Complaints against the GODMAN Web-Series 
Threat to Freedom of Media and Expression

Greetings to all members of the film fraternity, friends in media, civil society and citizens of this country.

Time has come for us to take a united stand against the attack on freedom of expression and media in India. Together, we must resist the stifling of our voices and ensure our ideas are heard.

Zee5, an OTT channel, has been producing numerous web series in the last few years, many of them in Tamil. The latest one being GODMAN, the series that Elango Raghupathy's FEATHERS ENTERTAINMENT has produced for Zee5. Babu Yogeswaran, the acclaimed Director of films like Jayam Ravi's ‘Dhass’ and Vijay Anthony's ‘Tamizharasan’, has written and directed this show.

This web series was scheduled to release on Zee5's App on June 12th. A promotional teaser was released on May 25th in Zee5's Official Website, Social Media Channels and YouTube.

However, on the 1st of June, Zee5 announced a temporary suspension of the show.

We reveal here the interesting encounters and action leading up to this decision.

The Tamil Nadu Brahmin community came together like an army to file criminal cases in almost every Police Station all over the State demanding that the show be canceled. This included several complaints in Chennai too. All this complaints raised by Brahmin faction were just based on a 1-minute teaser for a show that is 380 minutes long.

People of the Brahmin community, not only from India but worldwide, have been harassing both the show's Producer Elango Raghupathy and Director Babu Yogeswaran by phone, day and night, for the past 4 to 5 days. Their threats, insults and discriminatory language only proves how low they can stoop.

They spread vicious rumours that GODMAN's Producer is a Christian stooge and his agenda is to create a communal riot through this show. Miscreants also shared Elango’s photograph with the false assertion that he is "Hari", who threw pork meat at a temple in Coimbatore with a penchant call for lynching. This post had since gone viral.

Further, Brahmins, those of the likes of Subramaniya Swami, who hold influence with the Central Government, have threatened the bosses of Zee5 to stop the release of the show. Zee5 did cave in that led the aggressors to make announcements of victory by threats via social media.

On 30th of May, the President of the World Brahmin Organisation, Subramaniya Iyer had filed a complaint under sections 153, 153(a), 153A(1)(b), 295A, 504, 505 (1)(b), 295A, 504, 505(1)(b), 505(2) IPC with Chennai's Cybercrime Department implicating both the Producer Elango Ragupathy and Director Babu Yogeswaran in a criminal case.

Without any understanding of the web-series’s story or intentions or characterisation or the context of dialogues these groups have created an uproar of hate, going by the one minute teaser. This is an atrocious act of fascism by Brahmin fanatic groups, some of whom have gone to all possible lengths in curbing our democratic rights to freedom of expression.

Not only do their extreme actions take away our constitutional freedoms of speech and expression as stated in the Schedules of the Indian Constitution 19-1-A (1949), if this prevails, it will set a bad precedence for artists, creators and storytellers of the future.

If GODMAN the web series, is cancelled, the dominance and power of these unconstitutional and unconscionable forces will amass, letting anybody with a fragile ego or vested interest interfere with the freedom of art, stifling our voices and thoughts. This is an infinite power we must never allow anyone.

We need to act now. We need to resist the forces who think they can police our ideas. To fight fascism and enable the release of GODMAN the web series by Zee5 on its app, we, the team of GODMAN, have begun a signatory petition. We will take this petition with your support to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, India; the Prime Minister's Office and Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister.

We plea to gather support and solidarity to encourage Zee5 to release the web series GODMAN without further threats or aggressions.

Let us protect and safeguard Indian Cinema and Media from unconstitutional censorship.


Thank you,

The team of GODMAN, the Web-Series.


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