Navarasa Controversy: Here are a few other shows and movies that caused Netflix to enter murky waters
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Navarasa Controversy: Here are a few other shows and movies that caused Netflix to enter murky waters
Shilpa S
Aug 10, 2021

Netflix is arguably one of the biggest names when it comes to OTT platforms. The streaming giant has made its way to the top and is planning on staying there, with the vast number of its new releases which have made its way on to several trending lists. However, Netflix has not always faced clear skies in its journey - it had courted several controversies over some of its shows and films premiered on its platforms - the most recent being one of its segments of the Tamil anthology, Navarasa. A poster for the show which had appeared in a Tamil daily featured a verse from the Quran, the holy book of Islam. This angered several members of the Muslim community, who found the use of holy texts for entertainment as offensive.

On the wake of this issue, let’s take a look at a few other Netflix projects that earned them the ire of Indian and international audiences.

Bombay Begums
5OTTplay Rating
Telling the story of five women from Mumbai, different as can be, as they go through the trials and tribulations in life, Bombay Begums was at the receiving end of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, earlier this year. The objectionable scene in question was one where a couple of minors are shown to take cocaine on one of its episodes of the eight part series. The commission had pointed out that such content could ‘pollute the young minds’ of the children in the country and asked Netflix to review the content. The issue was brought to the notice of the body via Twitter users.
A Suitable Boy
6OTTplay Rating
This BBC drama tells the tale of a few families in the northern part of the country. A young woman of one of the families, whose parents are looking for a suitable match for her, rebels and decides that she is going to exercise her own free will when it comes to love. The series drew ire from the members of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Hindutva group for a clip that featured the character of the girl, a Hindu, kissing a young Muslim man in a temple. A complaint was filed against Netflix for hurting religious sentiments. There were also accusations that the show promoted the notorious concept of ‘love-jihad’.
Indian Matchmaking
6.6OTTplay Rating
The age-old custom of arranged marriage in India is given a professional touch in this series. Indian singles, both in and out of the country, are set up on dates to find ‘the one’ under the expert guidance of matchmaker Sima Taparia, who carefully vets their preferences so that all goes well. The show, however, was accused of catering to several regressive notions of preferences of the contestants, perpetuating harmful beauty standards. It has been accused of casteism, misogyny and colourism as well. People also took particular offense at the way women on the show were advised, compared to the men.
6.4OTTplay Rating
The Netflix original series, Insatiable, revolves around a formerly fat teenager, who sets out to seek revenge on the bullies who fat-shamed her. She is aided in her quest by a lawyer-turned-beauty pageant coach, who is determined to turn the teen into a winner. The critically-panned show ran into troubled waters when it was accused of fat-shaming, as the lead’s transformation into a slim woman is seemingly indicative of her positive progress. An online petition was also created calling for a cancellation of the show, which had more than 100,000 signatures. The show was ultimately cancelled after its second season.
13 Reasons Why
7.4OTTplay Rating
Revolving around the story of a highschool girl who dies by suicide and leaves a series of tapes in her wake, 13 Reasons Why has been criticized for romanticizing mental illness and depicting suicide as a revenge ploy. It had also come under fire for graphic depictions of suicide, which many people found extremely triggering. The makers of the series had claimed that the show was meant to raise awareness about mental illnesses. But regardless of the controversy, 13 Reasons Why had a successful run throughout its four seasons.
The Goop Lab with Gwyneth Paltrow
2.9OTTplay Rating
A docu-series, The Goop Lab, takes a deep dive into Hollywood actor Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness company, Goop. The series has not only earned Netflix criticism for allowing its platform to the company for its promotion, but there were also allegations that the show promoted pseudoscience. The Goop Lab was lambasted for attempting to pass off anecdotal practices as scientific cures. One sensational piece of medical advice in particular pertained to jade and quartz eggs, which Goop claimed could help women with regulating their hormones and menstrual cycles.

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