Last year Zee5’s Godman succumbed to the pressure of censorship on Twitter and was repealed. This year started with Amazon Prime Tandav, where a scene deemed unwanted by the Twitter crowd was deleted from the show, while the precautionary guarantee was rejected by the Supreme Court of Allahabad because the Hindu gods were portrayed in a “cheap and unpleasant way.” The platform made an unconditional apology. This month, on Netflix Bombay Begums caused similar tirades on Twitter. But this time their vote was raised by a government body, the National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (NCPCR), which on March 12 asked Netflix to suspend the broadcast within 24 hours for its “Inappropriate portrayal of children in the series”.
Bombay Begums is a show for 5 women at different stages of their lives: Puja Bat as Rani, CEO of a bank, Shahana Goswami as Fatima, senior employees in the same bank, Amruta Subhash as Lily, bar dancer who became a sex worker, Plabita Borthakur as Ayesha, a junior bank employee, and Aadhya Anand as Shai, Rani’s 13-year-old stepdaughter. The director is Alankrita Srivastava, who gave it to us earlier Lipstick under my burqa and Dolly Kitty aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, where women play gray characters in front and in the center, embracing the mess that is modern existence. This is a series of 6 parts, with hourly episodes that delve into the details of this mess.
Read also: Reviews of Rahul Desai Bombay Begums
What is the National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (NCPCR)?
The NCPCR was established by the Commission on the Protection of the Rights of the Child (CPCR) Act in 2005 and became operational in 2007. It works under the Ministry of Women and Child Development. One of their functions is “to undertake a formal investigation when concerns are expressed by the children themselves or by an interested person on their behalf”.
In this case, their concerns were raised through adults on Twitter.
The NCPCR notes in its notice that if Netflix fails to stop streaming the series within 24 hours, they “will take appropriate action under the provisions of section 14 of the Child Rights Commission (CPCR) Act of 2005.” . “
Section 14 of the Act notes that the Commission has all powers of a civil court hearing a case, if it deals with “non-compliance with policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating difficulties and ensuring the well-being of children and providing assistance to such children”.
This is not the first time NCPCR has courted titles. In 2018, they considered revising the guidelines for children participating in TV shows after a controversy involving singer Papon kissing a minor girl. Papon withdrew from the show. They also wanted to make sure that the children did not work more than 12 hours a day.
What is this complaint about?
The two tweets cited by the Commission are as follows. In fact, the matter was brought to the attention of the NCPCR President through these tweets:
In addition, the NCPCR notice states that “Netflix must take additional precautions while broadcasting any content to or for children, and will also refrain from entering into such matters.”
The scene in question
In the fifth episode of Bombay Begums, 14-year-old Shai is at the birthday party of Imran Sidiki, the teenage lottery girl, her student love. In an earlier scene, she hears some of her classmates planning to dress, “Something shiny, something loose.”
Shai presents Imran with a book of sketches that she has drawn to literally take her heart out of her body to give it to him. His reaction is: “Cool. You did it yourself? Before leaving her to hang out to welcome more of her friends. Later, she sees him dancing with another girl and takes off red glasses of Cardi vodka – without any pursuers – and finds himself in the cocaine corner of the party.
One of the older children there thought, “She’s a kid, twelve or something.” Shai replies, “I’m thirteen, I’m actually fourteen.” She asks the boys to show her how to snort lines. A few rows and a few shots of vodka later, she finds herself in the bathroom with her gift of sketches in the trash. She tears them up and spirals as she falls unconscious into a pool with her own vomit next to the toilet seat, almost dead.
Read also: Reviews of Anupama Chopra Bombay Begums
Does the scene glorify teenage drug abuse?
The party scene is shot awkwardly, not with the aesthetics of the celebration. There is nothing ambitious in the downward spiral in which Shai finds himself. In the next episode, her stepmother Rani (Puja Bhat) begins, urging Imran’s parents, “What the hell were drugs doing at a 14-year-old’s party in the first place?” In this scene, Rani occupies the moral center, reorienting us as the viewer. and the characters that this was in no way ambitious.
Based on Report on Indian Express, a senior Netflix employee met with NCPCR President Priyanc Kanungo and explained the broadcast. Netflix had asked for more time to address the issue after receiving the initial notification from NCPCR. Netflix is meeting with the Commission next Tuesday.