OTT Platforms Under Pressure By Govt, Abandoned Films By Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane

There was a time when the Indian audience turned to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to watch intelligent and seemingly ‘controversial’ content regarding politics, religion, class and caste. Since political films had no chance to screen in the theatres unless they were pro-government, people didn’t complain because they had endless unbiased political and socially relevant content on OTT platforms. However, the freedom with which OTT platforms perform is now being heavily curbed.

The Washington Post recently published a report wherein it has been found that the Indian government is using “criminal cases” and “coordinated mass public pressure” to shape Indian content produced by Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, reported The Wire.

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The victims of this have been popular Indian filmmakers like Dibakar Banerjee, Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane. OTT platforms are currently asking filmmakers to make extensive changes to films that are political, religious or deal with caste issues. Projects that were previously given a green light are now being cancelled or shelved.

According to Indian Express, Anurag Kashyap’s magnum opus three-part adaptation of Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City was abandoned by Netflix. The director reportedly suffered from a depressive spiral because of it.

“Why greenlight it, then change your mind?” Kashyap asked.


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Netflix also cancelled Dibakar Banerjee’s completed film ‘Tees’, which dealt with a Kashmiri family’s struggles in current-day India. Dibakar allegedly submitted the film to the platform last year but after months of “non-commital communication”, Netflix informed him that they wouldn’t be releasing the film.

“Netflix has never given me any other reason except they don’t know if this is the right time to release the film,” Dibakar said.

Netflix reportedly invested over $1 million into Vikramaditya Motwane’s documentary ‘Indi(r)a’s Emergency’ but they eventually got cold feet because of the “parallels that it draws to the current regime’s tactics”. The platform then relinquished its rights to the film.

These are very sad times we are living in.

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