First TV Shows, then Movies and now Central Government is taking away the fun & originality out of our favourite web series. In a recent event, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister of India has announced that soon the Government of India will make rules & implement regulations for OTT (Over the Top) market leaders like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar & others.
Government of India has been imposing restrictions on movies and TV shows for years. There have been instances when we have been waiting for a movie to come for long, and new uprises that Censor Board has ordered several dialogue changes or scene elimination from the director’s cut.
India is a diverse nation and people from all castes and religion live here. The government believes that the portrayal of the content may affect the sentiments of many people in the wrong way. This is one of the reasons that we have to watch a more trimmed cut of a movie, including reasons like content inappropriate for children, hurting sentiments of a class of society etc.
On Thursday, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Prakash Javadekar announced that the Centre is mulling over regulations on Netflix and its ilk. The regulations are said to be just like the ones applicable to Bollywood and Hollywood movies released in India.
This followed after a group of few mainstream media outlets approached & requested the government to impose regulations on OTT platforms. This has been sought has a method to bring the internet-based platforms to bring to a warped playing field.
While stating that he agrees to the point of putting regulations on OTT platforms, Javadekar said, “I have sought suggestions on how to deal with this because regular feature films are coming on OTT — good, bad and ugly. So how to deal with this, who should monitor, who should regulate. There is no certification body for OTT platforms and likewise news portals also.”
While describing the need for a regulatory framework and authority for OTT platforms, Javadekar added, “While Press Council of India takes care of print media, the NBA monitors news channels, the Advertising Standards Council of India is for advertising and the CBFC takes care of films. However, there is nothing for the OTT platforms.”
Looking from the side of film producers, media houses and advertising agencies, it seems fair that there should be an equal rule for every player in the field. We do have Censor Board for films, which does its work in an extra-efficient manner.
The board authorities mark the Hollywood movies’ dialogues as foul and inappropriate for the audience, but they are fine with the semi-naked girls dancing on the laps of actors, double their age, in an item number. A comic character like Deadpool’s dialogue has not potential to pollute audience’s mind but a country which has one of the most cases of women related crimes already, finds it feasible to portray female actors in that manner on screen.
While it is okay to feature non-secular content on screen in many movies, and showing villains in movies as a powerful person, promoting police officials as a Bribery agent, it is somehow not okay to tell the portray good stories with method actors and raw script, the way Netflix & other OTTs are doing it.
It is not what is portrayed that matters, but the people who are sitting on the decision chairs in these boards, matter. Such officials connect and judge the content on behalf of their sentiments, ignoring the bigger picture.
India is not only a diverse country in terms of religion but also in terms of opinion and everyone shall have their rights to see and watch, whatever they want.
What are your views on this, share it with us in the comment section.
Author: Keshav Kothari
A young CA Aspirant who is a writer and a photographer with the zeal to convey a positive perception through his work.