Since the first popular Made in India OTT content, Sacred Games, featured on Netflix in June 2018, there has been panic and crying about content that was named after home entertainment. This feature was everything that CBFC rejected after the first few minutes. Nearly everyone who saw it found it captivating, the macabre provoked by dishonesty, the cause of violence with the excesses of sex, unnatural on him. Broadcasting allegedly ‘pornographic’ content online against Hotshot, ALTBalaji, Kukoo, Ullu and other OTT platforms
The holy games were all that neither the Indian censor board allowed nor was conducive for viewing at home. It was not vulgar, it was worse. This was the feature script. A Late Despo runs, kills the royal don of a Mumbai area and becomes the new don! Is it so easy to be a don in Mumbai? If that was not all, then he would occupy the city! Fine, the author’s imagination should have stopped here. Eventually, he was, perhaps, giving vent to his dreams – that of becoming a different writer. A show of the more disadvantaged. Laxmi: Akshay Kumar’s horror-comedy break record, becomes the biggest ever opening on Disney + Hotstar claimed by OTT platform!
I remember a time from the single screen era. There were periods that were considered sluggish for the release of the new film. Exhibitors had to feed their theaters with dubbed films from the south or replay successful old films to keep the business running. There were areas where the audience was predominantly working class in every city and town, and the exhibitors there preferred these South Indian dubbed films, particularly from the Malayalam film industry, which was distinct with its portrayal of sex.
Posters and banners of such films promised sex scenes that were not even part of the film. In the film, this lower-class viewer’s imagination was abandoned, which landed in the metro to work at home and feed a family. But, even this class, which topped off to earn a living, was somewhat of a shame and if they were ready for a film like this, it was only during the night show that those The days used to start at 9:00 am. They could not see such screenings entering broad daylight.
And here with OTT, we are talking about the family audience who are expected to watch the program with the family! Then, OTT arrived in India, which neither the authorities nor the Indian Censor Board had any control over until now, with content-divers exploring their creativity. More content like this; Even an Arya, who did not need to portray sex, added it ‘just to be safe’! Except for two of the best and most successful OTT shows, Special Ops and Scam 1992, and a few others, every content creator for OTT seems confident that repulsive content sells! Maybe, OTT sells it to platforms, not to the ultimate consumer, but to the viewer.
But, after Sacred Games and other such programs, many eyebrows were raised and from the day of its introduction on OTT, the demand for a check on OTT material similar to the censor board increased. I am taking the name of the censor board simply because it is a content controlling material, not because it has proved to be effective in any way!
Sex and violence were not the only elements that troubled him. There were some programs which gained independence depicting the armed forces or religion. There was a lot of controversy about Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl which was related to the topic of the India Air Force and the recent Laxmi bomb, which was later called simply Laxmi. For them, it would be better to know that in India, when it comes to providing entertainment, watch is word recognition. The viewer finds the story familiar or at least praiseworthy. One with whom he can relate. Many films, or almost all, about the Bahubalis (strongmen) of UP and Bihar have failed to release dramatically.
People are not taken lightly by religion or nationalism in the name of entertainment anyway. However, some producers believe that such content gives rise to controversy and creates a lot of independent publicity and awareness for audience building. I have seen many times that the death of a star can increase the chances of the film, the controversy never happened. I think, the material that applies to films will also work in the same way with OTT material.
A lot of good material was followed in various languages and it was highly appreciated. But, for some reasons, there was a certain lot that probably thought it was trendy, or that they were meeting international standards, which was repulsive. The difference between feature filmmakers and OTT content producers is that, while filmmakers are usually afflicted, the second type is, in most cases, kind of fly by night or, short time filmmaker.
The idea is to make money and since OTT platforms need to create content suitable for India, these producers are cashing in. The cinema business and its taxation were always the subject of a state government which remained on the concurrent list until the GST regime came. Each state made concessions for the new trend of multiplex building, giving them tax holidays and other soaps. Older single-screened theaters had no such benefits and outdated rates of taxation and had more than 20 licenses to renew each year, no chance.
Single screen theaters started shutting down, leaving the public deprived of affordable entertainment. (Hemant Chaturvedi, a cinematographer at Repeat, who has shot many films like Company, Maqbool, Ishaqzaade, Kurbaan and Brothers) has started a mission to click these closed single-screen photographs across the Hindi belt across India. , Which are in a change of user status. He plans to compile his work into a voluntary book and this book will show the pathetic state of these cinema halls that once wooed thousands of people every week). This was an unfair deal for single screen theaters, while multiplexes received all the benefits, with no provision for the protection of traditional single screens.
This example is necessary because this is the situation when it comes to theatrical exhibition and OTT material. While theater cinema is regulated by various rules, including censorship, OTT material, until now, there was no ombudsman who could not see what they did. Surprisingly, various governments, which imposed censorship on films with so heavy a hand, let the OTT platforms go unchecked since entering India! As multiplexes hit single screens, unrestrained OTT will definitely limit the appeal of the theater-going experience! There should be a level playing field.
Therefore, by not delaying now, the Central Government has aroused this discrepancy. Other digital content including OTT and news portals will therefore be subject to scrutiny by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The Cinematograph Act, which deals with public exhibition of films, should have been amended on the day the first OTT stage was entered in India. However, how the government will implement censorship on OTT is a question, since since the Cinematograph Act 1952, no government has managed the CBFC satisfactorily till now!
This is the question of how the government will regulate OTT content. In fact, India has all the relevant laws to deal with all kinds of situations, but its implementation is lacking. When it comes to films, guidelines are given, there are no such guidelines for OTT. By going through content already released in the public domain, the ministry can start with creating basic comprehensive guidelines and then gradually work on fine-tuning.
(The above story first appeared on November 15, 2020 11:49 AM IST. For more news and updates about politics, the world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log the latest on our website.) .