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Here's Why Netflix Removed Nayanthara's 'Annapoorani' Days After Its Release

Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

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Nayanthara's Tamil film, Annapoorani: The Goddess of Food, has been embroiled in controversy ever since it premiered on Netflix on 29 December. The film received huge backlash from several right-wing groups and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), claiming that it "hurts" the religious sentiments of the Hindu community, especially Brahmins.

On 10 January, the makers of Annapoorani issued a formal apology to VHP and withdrew their film from the OTT platform in response to an FIR lodged by the Hindu IT cell's founder, Rakesh Solanki, on 6 January.

Here's all you need to know about the controversy:

Here's Why Netflix Removed Nayanthara's 'Annapoorani' Days After Its Release

  1. 1. What is Nayanthara's 'Annapoorani' About? 

    Annapoorani, which is co-produced by Zee Entertainment, was released in theatres last year, on 1 December. Although the film opened to mixed reviews from critics, it was a box-office failure and was consequently launched on Netflix after receiving approval from the Censor Board’s Chennai regional office.

    Helmed by debutant director Nilesh Krishnaa, Annapoorani follows the story of a Brahmin woman (played by Nayanthara) born into an orthodox family who defies social odds to become India's best chef.

    Farhan (played by Jai), Annapoorani's classmate and supposed love interest, assists her in navigating the conventional challenges regarding her caste and beliefs and encourages her to go beyond the prejudices to achieve her dream.

    Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

    Nayanthara and Jai in a still from the film.

    (Photo Courtesy: IMDb)

    In the film, Nayanthara's character is shown going against her family's religious beliefs by eating and learning to cook meat to enter a high-stakes cooking contest.

    In accordance with rigid caste rules, most Brahmins in India do not consume meat.

    • According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre in 2021 among 30,000 Indian adults, most dominant caste Hindus are often vegetarians; however, only 2/5 of the Hindu population is vegetarian in India.

    • Siasat.com, which published a detailed report on the National Family Health Survey 2019-21: Meat Consumption Trends, also pointed out a significant increase in India's meat consumption from 2015 to present.

    • The report further added that Hindu meat-eaters in India increased from 44.4% to 52.5% and 38.3% to 40.7% in the last six years.

    Annapoorani had been streaming on Netflix in multiple regional languages, though it was the Hindi version that sparked an outrage among viewers.

    Expand
  2. 2. Protests by Right-Wing Groups & Social Media Backlash

    Soon after Annapoorani hit the OTT platform, it received widespread backlash on social media, with several viewers labelling the film as "anti-Hindu." Members of hard-line Hindu organisations also objected to the film, alleging that it "mocks" the Brahmin community and promotes 'love Jihad'.

    Sharing a clip from the film on X on 9 January, Shriraj Nair, a spokesperson of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an outfit of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), warned Netflix to take down the film.

    Have a look at his tweet here:

    Sharing the same clip on X, Vinod Bansal, VHP's national spokesperson also expressed his disapproval of the film and demanded action against it.

    Have a look at his tweet here:

    Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

    A screengrab of Vinod Bansal's tweet.

    (Photo Courtesy: X)

    According to The Hindu, the VHP’s Mumbai unit also alleged that the film spreads misinformation about revered figures of Hinduism including Lord Rama. "Such content not only has the potential to create social unrest but also reflects a lack of sensitivity towards the sentiments of a significant section of the society,” they said.

    Expand
  3. 3. Legal Complaints Against 'Annapoorani'

    Amid the uproar on social media, Mumbai police lodged an FIR against the Annapoorani on 6 January, following a complaint by Rakesh Solanki, founder of the Hindu IT Cell.

    The complaint was filed against the film’s lead actors Nayanthara and Jai, writer-director Nilesh Krishnaa, producers Jatin Sethi, R Ravindran, and Punit Goenka, Zee Studios Chief Business Officer Shariq Patel, and the head of Netflix India, Monika Shergill.

    Sharing a copy of the FIR on X, Solanki raised objection over several scenes from the film, including a controversial dialogue, which interpreted Hindu deity Lord Rama, as a meat eater.

    On 10 January, another FIR was lodged against the Nayanthara-starrer by the Jabalpur police under Section 153A (promoting enmity between groups) and 3A of the Indian Penal Code, as per a report by The Hindu.

    Expand
  4. 4. Celebs & Netizens React to the Film's Removal From Netflix

    Several celebrities from the Tamil film industry expressed disappointment in Annapoorani's removal from the OTT platform. Taking to her Instagram stories, actor Parvathy Thiruvothu wrote, "A dangerous precedent being set. Censoring left, right and 'centre' until we won't be allowed to breathe."

    Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

    A screengrab of Parvathy's story.

    (Photo Courtesy: Instagram)

    Other celebrities, like Siddharth and Onir, also criticised the legal case against the film on social media. Siddharth tweeted, "Fanaticism won, creativity lost. Shame on @NetflixIndia for giving in to majoritarian bullying."

    Have a look at his tweet here:

    Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

    Here's how netizens reacted to the controversy:

    Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.
    Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.
    Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.
    Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.
    Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.
    Expand
  5. 5. Controversial Scenes From 'Annapoorani' Explained

    Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

    Nayanthara in a still from the film.

    (Photo Courtesy: IMdb)

    "Lord Rama, a Meat-Eater"

    In one of the controversial scenes from the film, Farhan tries to convince Annapoorani to eat meat since she wants to participate in a cooking contest. In order to tell her that eating meat is not a sin, Farhan goes on to recite a verse from Valmiki's Ramayana, which suggests that Lord Rama, Lakshman, and Goddess Sita had consumed meat while they were in exile.

    "The film Promotes Love Jihad"

    In the film, Annapoorani's Muslim friend, Farhan, encourages her to follow her passion of becoming a celebrated chef. While Farhan develops romantic feelings for Annapoorani, his feelings aren't reciprocated, leaving their 'supposed relationship' that fuelled the "love Jihad" accusations unexplored.

    "Brahmin Woman Offering Namaz to Cook Biryani"

    Annapoorani is the daughter of Rangarajan (Achyuth Kumar), a Brahmin temple chef, who considers meat-eating a sin. During the final round of the cooking contest, the contestants are asked to cook biryani and so Annapoorani does.

    Prior to her preparation, Annapoorani dons a hijab and offers namaz as a tribute to Farhan's mother, who taught her how to cook Biryani.

    Expand
  6. 6. Zee Studios' Response to the Controversy

    Amid the controversy, Zee Studios issued a formal apology to the VHP, stating that their film does not intend to hurt the sentiments of the Hindu and Brahmin communities.

    The studio said that it has taken note of the VHP’s allegations about the film containing scenes and dialogues that attribute false and contradictory statements to Lord Rama, suggesting that he had consumed meat during his fourteen years of exile.

    In its apology letter, Zee wrote, "We have no intentions as co-producers of the film to hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindu and Brahmin communities and would like to hereby apologise for the inconvenience caused and hurt caused to the sentiments of the respective communities."

    Have a look:

    Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

    Zee Studios' apology letter.

    (Photo Courtesy: X)

    In response to Annapoorani getting pulled from Netflix, VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal hailed the streamer's decision as a 'victory of Hindus'. "On the complaint of the VHP, Zee Studios has apologised. It is important to wake up on time, and it is our compulsion to prevent attacks on the faith of Hindus," Bansal wrote on X.

    Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

    A screengrab of Vinod Bansal's tweet.

    (Photo Courtesy: X)

    Zee Studios also stated that Annapoorani will not return to Netflix until the objectionable content is edited out.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

What is Nayanthara's 'Annapoorani' About? 

Annapoorani, which is co-produced by Zee Entertainment, was released in theatres last year, on 1 December. Although the film opened to mixed reviews from critics, it was a box-office failure and was consequently launched on Netflix after receiving approval from the Censor Board’s Chennai regional office.

Helmed by debutant director Nilesh Krishnaa, Annapoorani follows the story of a Brahmin woman (played by Nayanthara) born into an orthodox family who defies social odds to become India's best chef.

Farhan (played by Jai), Annapoorani's classmate and supposed love interest, assists her in navigating the conventional challenges regarding her caste and beliefs and encourages her to go beyond the prejudices to achieve her dream.

Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

Nayanthara and Jai in a still from the film.

(Photo Courtesy: IMDb)

In the film, Nayanthara's character is shown going against her family's religious beliefs by eating and learning to cook meat to enter a high-stakes cooking contest.

In accordance with rigid caste rules, most Brahmins in India do not consume meat.

  • According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre in 2021 among 30,000 Indian adults, most dominant caste Hindus are often vegetarians; however, only 2/5 of the Hindu population is vegetarian in India.

  • Siasat.com, which published a detailed report on the National Family Health Survey 2019-21: Meat Consumption Trends, also pointed out a significant increase in India's meat consumption from 2015 to present.

  • The report further added that Hindu meat-eaters in India increased from 44.4% to 52.5% and 38.3% to 40.7% in the last six years.

Annapoorani had been streaming on Netflix in multiple regional languages, though it was the Hindi version that sparked an outrage among viewers.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Protests by Right-Wing Groups & Social Media Backlash

Soon after Annapoorani hit the OTT platform, it received widespread backlash on social media, with several viewers labelling the film as "anti-Hindu." Members of hard-line Hindu organisations also objected to the film, alleging that it "mocks" the Brahmin community and promotes 'love Jihad'.

Sharing a clip from the film on X on 9 January, Shriraj Nair, a spokesperson of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an outfit of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), warned Netflix to take down the film.

Have a look at his tweet here:

Sharing the same clip on X, Vinod Bansal, VHP's national spokesperson also expressed his disapproval of the film and demanded action against it.

Have a look at his tweet here:

Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

A screengrab of Vinod Bansal's tweet.

(Photo Courtesy: X)

According to The Hindu, the VHP’s Mumbai unit also alleged that the film spreads misinformation about revered figures of Hinduism including Lord Rama. "Such content not only has the potential to create social unrest but also reflects a lack of sensitivity towards the sentiments of a significant section of the society,” they said.

0

Legal Complaints Against 'Annapoorani'

Amid the uproar on social media, Mumbai police lodged an FIR against the Annapoorani on 6 January, following a complaint by Rakesh Solanki, founder of the Hindu IT Cell.

The complaint was filed against the film’s lead actors Nayanthara and Jai, writer-director Nilesh Krishnaa, producers Jatin Sethi, R Ravindran, and Punit Goenka, Zee Studios Chief Business Officer Shariq Patel, and the head of Netflix India, Monika Shergill.

Sharing a copy of the FIR on X, Solanki raised objection over several scenes from the film, including a controversial dialogue, which interpreted Hindu deity Lord Rama, as a meat eater.

On 10 January, another FIR was lodged against the Nayanthara-starrer by the Jabalpur police under Section 153A (promoting enmity between groups) and 3A of the Indian Penal Code, as per a report by The Hindu.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Celebs & Netizens React to the Film's Removal From Netflix

Several celebrities from the Tamil film industry expressed disappointment in Annapoorani's removal from the OTT platform. Taking to her Instagram stories, actor Parvathy Thiruvothu wrote, "A dangerous precedent being set. Censoring left, right and 'centre' until we won't be allowed to breathe."

Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

A screengrab of Parvathy's story.

(Photo Courtesy: Instagram)

Other celebrities, like Siddharth and Onir, also criticised the legal case against the film on social media. Siddharth tweeted, "Fanaticism won, creativity lost. Shame on @NetflixIndia for giving in to majoritarian bullying."

Have a look at his tweet here:

Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

Here's how netizens reacted to the controversy:

Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.
Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.
Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.
Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.
Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.
ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Controversial Scenes From 'Annapoorani' Explained

Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

Nayanthara in a still from the film.

(Photo Courtesy: IMdb)

"Lord Rama, a Meat-Eater"

In one of the controversial scenes from the film, Farhan tries to convince Annapoorani to eat meat since she wants to participate in a cooking contest. In order to tell her that eating meat is not a sin, Farhan goes on to recite a verse from Valmiki's Ramayana, which suggests that Lord Rama, Lakshman, and Goddess Sita had consumed meat while they were in exile.

"The film Promotes Love Jihad"

In the film, Annapoorani's Muslim friend, Farhan, encourages her to follow her passion of becoming a celebrated chef. While Farhan develops romantic feelings for Annapoorani, his feelings aren't reciprocated, leaving their 'supposed relationship' that fuelled the "love Jihad" accusations unexplored.

"Brahmin Woman Offering Namaz to Cook Biryani"

Annapoorani is the daughter of Rangarajan (Achyuth Kumar), a Brahmin temple chef, who considers meat-eating a sin. During the final round of the cooking contest, the contestants are asked to cook biryani and so Annapoorani does.

Prior to her preparation, Annapoorani dons a hijab and offers namaz as a tribute to Farhan's mother, who taught her how to cook Biryani.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Zee Studios' Response to the Controversy

Amid the controversy, Zee Studios issued a formal apology to the VHP, stating that their film does not intend to hurt the sentiments of the Hindu and Brahmin communities.

The studio said that it has taken note of the VHP’s allegations about the film containing scenes and dialogues that attribute false and contradictory statements to Lord Rama, suggesting that he had consumed meat during his fourteen years of exile.

In its apology letter, Zee wrote, "We have no intentions as co-producers of the film to hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindu and Brahmin communities and would like to hereby apologise for the inconvenience caused and hurt caused to the sentiments of the respective communities."

Have a look:

Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

Zee Studios' apology letter.

(Photo Courtesy: X)

In response to Annapoorani getting pulled from Netflix, VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal hailed the streamer's decision as a 'victory of Hindus'. "On the complaint of the VHP, Zee Studios has apologised. It is important to wake up on time, and it is our compulsion to prevent attacks on the faith of Hindus," Bansal wrote on X.

Nayanthara-starrer 'Annapoorani' has been pulled from Netflix amid the ongoing backlash against the film.

A screengrab of Vinod Bansal's tweet.

(Photo Courtesy: X)

Zee Studios also stated that Annapoorani will not return to Netflix until the objectionable content is edited out.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Nayanthara   Annapoorani 

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