How Exactly is Netflix’s Telugu Rom-Com Krishna and His Leela “An Insult to the Gods”?

Social Commentary

How Exactly is Netflix’s Telugu Rom-Com Krishna and His Leela “An Insult to the Gods”?

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

On Monday morning, Indian Twitter users were up in arms against the streaming platform Netflix. The problem was a Telugu film released on the platform called Krishna and His Leela.

Those offended by the show accused it of showcasing “Hinduphobia”, a favourite allegation to level against web series, and of being insulting to Hindu gods and goddesses. The uproar kicked up over this has led to #BoycottNetflix trending on Twitter, the home of all such inane protests.

Krishna and His Leela is described as a rom-com, which is an odd genre to accuse of Hinduphobia. But for the easily offended, the fact that the protagonist shares his name with Lord Krishna and is also depicted having sexual relations with a woman named Radha, one of Lord Krishna’s consorts, was enough.

The knee-jerk reaction to content offered on these web platforms is funny, given how they are subscription-based. Users would have to go out of their way to discover content to be offended by, and it seems to be something they are getting quite good at. Krishna and His Leela is far from the first online release to be attacked by trolls for supposed “Hinduphobia”.

Earlier this year, Paatal Lok on Amazon Prime was faced with similar allegations. Scenes involving eating meat and graphic dialogues put the streaming platform as well as series producer Anushka Sharma in hot water.

And before that, Leila (also on Netflix) was also met with similar complaints. The critics of these shows are a one-note chorus, and their tweets about these shows could easily just have the titles swapped and nobody would be able to tell the difference.

The people who honestly believe that a little-known film on Netflix is the biggest threat to Indian society in 2020 have curious priorities. Also, they seem to have a weak grasp on the difference between fact and fiction.

Hopefully, the lockdown ends and we can go back to theatres before they harass every streaming platform out of India.