Days ahead of the release of ‘The Family Man 2’, the makers of the Amazon Prime show have reportedly issued a gag order barring South Indian actress Samantha Akkineni from speaking about her role.
The news comes even as ‘The Family Man 2’ remains mired in controversy, with people taking objection to how Tamilians are portrayed in the Manoj Bajpayee-led series. Akkineni, who is a well-known star in the Telugu and Tamil film industries, has joined season two of the series, playing the role of a suicide bomber.
The trailer of the show dropped earlier this month, drawing the ire of several on social media who deemed the series ‘anti-Tamil’, with Indian politician and Rajya Sabha member and MDMK leader Vaiko calling for a ban on the series, while urging the country’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar to stop the release of the spy thriller, out on June 4.
The Tamil Nadu Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mano Thangaraj has also reportedly written to Javedkar to immediately ban the show.
While protests continue to snowball in the lead up to the release, entertainment portal Bollywood Hungama has now sited a trade source as saying that Akkineni has been barred from speaking about her role to the media.
“There are always protests to certain characters or portrayals in films or series, this comes since the audience are only exposed to a small part of what to expect, which could look a certain way. In the case with Samantha’s character in ‘The Family Man 2’, people have taken an objection to her character, but they have not really seen the full range of what she portrays,” a trade source told the website.
Speaking further about the gag order issued the source added: “Amazon Prime Video like most content creators would like to avoid controversies prior to the release of their venture. The gag order to refrain from speak about the show is exactly that, so the audience feeling and sentiments that have been hurt can be assuaged.”
Meanwhile, in earlier interviews Akkineni has raved about her role in the Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK directorial adding that she has never portrayed such a character in her career. Raj and DK (as they are popularly known) have attempted to assuage the masses saying they have ensured people of Tamil culture are not hurt by the portrayal.
The makers also issued a statement last week, explaining their stance. “Some assumptions and impressions have been made based on just a couple of shots in the trailer. Many of our lead cast members and key members of the creative & writing team are Tamilians. We are very cognizant of the sentiments of the Tamil people and Tamil culture and have nothing but the utmost love and respect towards our Tamil people,” wrote directors Raj & DK in a joint statement.
This statement has also been shared by Bajpayee. The makers urged everyone to have faith in their perspective. “We have put in years of hard work into this show. And we have taken great pains to bring to our audiences a sensitive, balanced, and riveting story — much like we did in Season 1 of the show. We request everyone to wait and watch the show when it releases. We know you will appreciate it once you watch it,” the statement added.
Akkineni’s character seems to be fighting for an independent state for Ethnic Tamils, a spillover of the 1983 conflict between Sri Lankan government forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).