Netflix told to stop airing 'Bombay Begums' over kids' portrayal

Shalini Ojha
·2-min read

Netflix told to stop airing
Netflix told to stop airing

12 Mar 2021: Netflix told to stop airing 'Bombay Begums' over kids' portrayal

Filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava, whose Lipstick Under My Burkha, had become the center of a massive row, sparking conversations around women's liberation, has once again invited criticism. This time Bombay Begums, which is streaming on Netflix, is hogging the limelight.

The show, which traverses the lives of five women of different generations, is being criticized over its portrayal of children.

Netflix has been asked to stop airing it.

Show: What is the show all about?

Shrivastava's series marks the comeback of actress Pooja Bhatt, who plays Rani, the CEO of Royal Bank of Bombay. The show also has Shahana Goswami, whose character Fatima is torn between eyeing an enviable post and marriage responsibilities.

Then there's Plabita Borthakur as Ayesha, a girl from small-town Indore having big dreams, and Amruta Subhash as Lily, a sex worker who blackmails Rani.

Characters: The fifth character, Shai, struggles at home and school

The narrator of the series is Shai, played by Aadhya Anand, a rebellious teenager who doesn't approve of her stepmom Rani. Besides battling with her emotions at home, Shai also struggles in her school, where her classmates dub her as "underdeveloped."

In one scene, school girls are seen taking pictures of their breasts and then forwarding it to one Imran.

Drugs: Teenager is shown smoking up and drinking

The teenager, who clearly yearns to grow old quickly, is shown drinking and taking drugs at a party.

While the makers would have hoped to start conversations around women's struggles and boardroom politics with the show, they ended up glorifying casual sex and drug abuse, as alleged by a complainant.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) took cognizance of the complaint.

Notice: Child Rights body asked Netflix to take extra precaution

On Thursday, NCPCR sent a notice to the streamer, asking it to stop airing Bombay Begums.

"Netflix should take extra precaution while streaming any content in respect of the children or for the children and shall also refrain from getting into such things," the notice read.

The apex child rights body said such content could pollute young minds and result in the exploitation of children.

Fact: 'Furnish a detailed action report within 24 hours'

"Furnish a detailed action report within 24 hours, failing which the Commission will be constrained to initiate appropriate action pursuant to the provisions of Section 14 of the CPCR (Commission for Protection of Child Rights) Act, 2005, (sic)" the body added.

Guidelines: Government had released guidelines for OTT platforms

OTT platforms have been garnering criticism for long now (Tandav's controversy for example) owing to the derogatory content they air. Last month, the Indian government tightened its grip on these platforms by releasing guidelines.

The three-tier mechanism was termed as "soft-touch regulatory architecture."

Though the first two tiers focused on self-regulation, the third tier batted for oversight by the federal government.