New Delhi: Netflix India informed the Delhi High Court on Thursday that a change had been incorporated in the English subtitles of Sacred Games, a web series, to remedy an alleged insult to former Prime Minister Rajiv
In the fouth episode of the series, lead actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui is seen abusing Rajiv Gandhi and calling him ”fattu”. It was translated in the subtitle of the show as ‘pussy’ initially. Later, when several objections were raised, it was changed to ‘wimp’.
“Now, we are using word ‘wimp’ as the English translation of Hindi word ‘fattu’,” the platform’s counsel told a bench of justice Sanjiv Khanna and justice Chander Shekhar. As to the bench’s query about the meaning of ‘fattu’, the counsel said it means ‘coward’.
The court questioned if they had correctly translated the word in the subtitles and asked Netflix to examine
such parts in the web series. However, it said it did not want to curtail the freedom of speech and expression. “Criticism or even expression of dissatisfaction is permissible. I do not think anyone can have objection to it,” the bench said.
The court remarked that freedom of speech is on a higher pedestal even when someone is criticising people associated with politics, adding that it is the viewer’s choice what they want to see.
The court reiterated its queries as to whether the plea could be entertained as a public interest litigation
and asked the petitioner to satisfy how the court could intervene. The PIL — filed by lawyer Nikhil Bhalla
through advocate Shashank Garg — sought the removal of two contents that according to him
“tarnished” the image of the former prime minister.
The lawyer claimed that the series incorrectly depicted historical events such as Bofors scandal, Shah
Bano case, Babri Masjid demolition and communal riots.
During the course of hearing, the lawyer apprised the court that Rajiv Gandhi’s son and Congress
president Rahul Gandhi had not raised any objection to the series and supported freedom of speech.
However, the court warned Netflix not to take it for granted and remain careful while broadcasting any
series. The court has listed the matter further, for August 6.
Sacred Games is directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane and was produced in partnership with Phantom Films. Shooting for the first season was completed on January 28 this year and all eight episodes were made available for streaming on July 6.