Netflix removes ‘Annapoorani’ after backlash over religious sentiments

The Tamil-language movie titled “Annapoorani: The Goddess of Food,” starring leading Indian actor Nayanthara has been removed from Netflix due to multiple complaints from Hindu organizations.

The film revolves around the story of a girl from a traditional Hindu family who aspires to become India’s top chef. It premiered in theaters on December 1st and became available for streaming on Netflix on December 29th. However, the film quickly became a target for criticism from various Hindu groups across India, who alleged that it hurt their religious sentiments.

In Mumbai, members of the Hindu group Bajrang Dal filed a formal complaint, as did Ramesh Solanki, who identifies himself on Instagram as an “Activist, Founder Hindu IT Cell, Ex ShivSena Post Bearer, and Proud Hindu Indian Nationalist.” Solanki shared a copy of his complaint on X, expressing his concerns, “At a time when the entire world is eagerly awaiting the Pran Pratishtha of Bhagwan Shri Ram Mandir [the forthcoming consecration of the Lord Rama temple in Ayodhya], this film, Annapoorani, which is perceived as anti-Hindu, has been released on Netflix. It is produced by Zee Studios, Naad Sstudios, and Trident Arts,” as stated in his complaint.

In his complaint, Solanki specifically pointed out certain scenes from the film. One of them depicted Nayanthara, portraying a Hindu priest’s daughter, participating in a Muslim prayer while wearing a Muslim headdress. Solanki further contended that the movie promotes the contentious notion of “Love jihad” – a conspiracy theory suggesting Hindu women are coerced into converting to Islam. He cited an instance in the film where Nayanthara’s character’s Muslim friend, Farhan (played by Jai), allegedly “indoctrinates” her into consuming meat by claiming that Lord Rama and the goddess Sita, revered deities in Hinduism, also partook in meat consumption. This assertion is particularly problematic for many Hindus, given that a significant portion of them adhere to a vegetarian lifestyle, and the idea of their gods consuming meat is considered deeply offensive.