Netflix released its much-awaited anthology series titled ‘Navarasa’ on Friday 6th August. However, soon after its release, #BanNetflix started trending on Twitter as the Muslim community in India pointed out that the poster for the series contains text from Quranic verses that should not be printed in newspapers and posters.
Raza Academy, an organization for Indian Sunni Muslims, accused Netflix for publishing the poster containing the Quranic verses in the local Tamil daily newspaper that has hurt the sentiments of Muslims and is an insult to the holy book.
Hence, the hashtag #BanNetflix started trending on Twitter as numerous people urged the company to not use the religion and its texts for entertainment purposes.
Netflix has published a verse of the Quran in the advertisement of its film NavaRasa in Daily Thanthi newspaper
This is an insult to the Quran. We demand strict action against@NetflixIndia#BanNetflix #BanDailyThanthiNews #TahaffuzeQuran
— Raza Academy (@razaacademyho) August 6, 2021
— Rustam Ali (@RustamA89542345) August 6, 2021
Navarasa (Nine emotions) is an Indian Tamil language anthology series created by Mani Ratnam in order to raise funds for the daily wage workers affected by the pandemic under the Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI). The main idea of the project is to show different stories on social issues through nine short films as each respective episode.
The poster under fire is from the episode “Inmai” that translates to fear. Very little is known about the plot of the film hence it cannot be said in what context the poster was created.
Misrepresentation of Muslims
This is not the first time Netflix has come under fire for misrepresenting Muslims in the mainstream media. The constant narrative promoted about how most Muslim women are looking for way out from their “oppressed” religion is not only problematic but also disrespectful for the Muslim audience.
For instance, in the popular Netflix series Elite, the main character Nadia is shown to be a Hijab clad Muslim girl who falls in love with a Spanish boy and then decided to remove her hijab and go along with him in hopes of liberation.
Similarly, another Netflix film Cuties show a young 11 year old French-Senegalese Amy trying to rebel from her conservative Muslim family. After the initial poster of the film was released, it caused a similar outcry from the subscribers and as many as 295,000 signatures were signed demanding the removal of the poster that hyper-sexualized underage girls. An apology was issued by Netflix and the poster was changed to the girls holding shopping bags and laughing.
Additionally, the typical narrative of Muslims as terrorists is widely shown in shows like Bodyguard.