The Delhi High court is studying a petition filed by Nikhil Bhalla against Netflix, which is producing Sacred Games as its first Indian original series. Bhalla is a member of the opposition Congress party, which Gandhi led until his assassination in 1991.
Sacred Games is set in Mumbai and examines the gritty underworld and politics scene in that city. It bowed this month and is based on a 2006 novel by Vikram Chandra
Gandhi is referred to as a “fattu,” a Hindi slang word for a coward, in one scene deemed objectionable. As he shakes hands with world leaders, a voice-over talks of his appeasement of Muslims in a case involving divorce rights for Muslim women.
“The show ‘Sacred Games’ has inappropriate dialogues, political attacks and even speeches, which are derogatory in nature and harms the reputation of the former Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi,” the petition said.
Gandhi became prime minister after his mother Indira was assassinated in 1984. His son, Rahul Gandhi, is the current party president.
Netflix has been asked to delete any derogatory remarks made directly or indirectly against Rajiv Gandhi or his family. “We cannot afford to, in the name of freedom of speech allow anything to be beamed in every home without regard to its impact on society,” the petition said.
India heavily censors its movies and television, but does not censor Internet content.
Netflix’s Indian operation has not yet responded to the petition.