What happened with ‘Tandav’ worried us : ‘The Family Man’ co-director Suparn Varma
Suparn Varma, who co-directed “The Family Man 2”, says controversies around Amazon Prime Video shows “Tandav” and “Mirzapur” worried them and there were concerns about how the show would be received by the audiences. Created by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, “The Family Man 2” started streaming on Amazon Prime from June 4. The show has been received well by both the critics as well as viewers.
Fronted by Manoj Bajpayee, the series was scheduled to return in February this year but had to be postponed following the controversy over “Tandav”.
Saif Ali Khan-starrer “Tandav” was embroiled in a huge controversy in January after the show”s makers were accused of hurting religious sentiments, leading to multiple FIRs being filed against them.
“What happened with ”Tandav” worried us. It is in general a worrisome development, not just us but every show that you are doing. It also makes you question what is going to offend who and you have no idea because anybody can get offended,” Varma said.
“We did look at our show, we were cognisant of what we were doing, we didn”t do it for effect, it was integral to the show. But there was a worry how it would blow up,” he added.
Varma was speaking at an online conversation with media and fans on FLYX’s Bakstage, an audio-based social networking app, on Thursday night.
“We are not writing to create controversy. That’s the last thing we want. We want the show to release peacefully and viewers to enjoy it,” the 46-year-old writer-director said.
Despite the delay, the second season of “The Family Man” had a not-so-smooth debut as there were calls in Tamil Nadu for the show”s boycott due to its alleged portrayal of Eelam Tamils.
In the new season, Bajpayee”s Srikant Tiwari is pitted against a new and powerful adversary, Raji, a Sri Lankan Tamil liberation fighter, played by South star Samantha Akkineni.
“We were in Mumbai, Samantha was in Hyderabad and our interest was to safeguard her.
“Luckily when most of the people saw the show, they kept quiet. There is some noise but it is not serious. People know we are not demeaning anyone. Also the love Raji’s character has got, it has almost silenced everyone,” Varma said.
After the season two trailer was unveiled, some people had also raised objections over the darkened skin colour of Akkineni”s character.
However, Varma, who previously directed Bipasha Basu’s 2013 film “Aatma” and served as a writer on Ajay Devgn and Abhishek Bachchan’s 2003 “Zameen”, said there was a reason behind the move.
“Our reason is very simple. It is not a beautification issue where we wanted dark skin actress or whatever. We wanted the best Tamil speaking actress and Samantha is the national treasure. The kind of performance she has done should silence anybody asking why not someone else.
“The skin tone was done for a simple reason. When you are living in a jungle literally picked up from school, being tortured, thrown in war camps and becoming a guerrilla warrior in the hot baked sun of Sri Lanka, then you will have a certain skin tone,” he said.
One of the reasons why the makers decided to set the show”s second season in Chennai was to highlight the issue of Tamil Eelams and how the young audience is unaware about their cause, Varma said.
“It is unfortunate in our country… the South in a way or even Mizoram or Nagaland are integral parts of our country but we focus more on Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore or Kolkata. Beyond that, we don’t go in. These societies are very inflated and isolated, Tamil culture is so rich,” he added.
Varma was not involved with season one of “The Family Man” but when Nidimoru and DK approached him for the sophomore part, he grabbed the opportunity.
He said there was a pressure on him to not let the creators of the show down.
“My pressure began in a different way that Raj and DK are my dear friends and I couldn’t s**** up their baby and I had to step up 500 per cent to ensure that season two made them proud. So my pressure was not from audience expectations,” Varma said.