Pooja Bhatt has reacted to complaints by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which raised an objection against her recent Netflix series, Bombay Begums.
In a recent interview, Pooja explained that the series is a work of fiction. She noted that ‘reforms are not new to anyone of us’ as she has watched her father, director Mahesh Bhatt, deal with controversies at the start of his career. Pointing out how Manzilein Aur Bhi Hain and Zakhm faced hurdles before their release, Pooja explained that it all boils down to one’s intention. She added that people have their ‘own sets of biases, their own understandings, and their way of looking at the world’.
Talking about Bombay Begums, she told India Today, “As far as Bombay Begums is concerned, (a) it’s a work of fiction, (b) what’s glorious about it is that it tells you about five individual women in different stages of their lives starting from somebody who is 13 to somebody who is going to be 49 and hitting menopause. I think when I look at Bombay Begums, I don’t look at it ever as my win; I look at it as a tribe, that is one, the tribe of actors, filmmakers and creators who actually put their faith and belief into something, and that’s what kind of is resonating.”
“So my response was, sit down with the Commission, talk to them, let them understand that Shai’s character is of a troubled teenager and we have plenty of those in our society who are lost within their own homes. She (the child in Bombay Begums) begins by saying ‘I would rather be a rebel and lead the pack but what am I rebelling against?’ So, I think we have all gone through that at some point. We have all been rebels without causes and I think as you grow older, you understand that you can’t have a knee-jerk response in either case. And you need to sit across the table, speak from your heart, communicate your intent, and it’ll be heard more often than not,” she added.
Netflix India’s Director of Original Films, Srishti Behl Arya, also weighed in on the controversy and said that the series was intended for adult audiences only. She added that the show has a disclaimer as well. “We have a synopsis to help viewers make an informed decision on whether they would like to watch it,” she added.
Earlier this month, the NCPCR had asked Netflix to stop streaming the show on their platform, citing an inappropriate portrayal of children. They took action based on a complaint that alleged the series showed minors indulging in casual sex and drug abuse.