When theatres were completely shut down in the country in March of 2020 owing to the pandemic, we saw a major boost in content consumption on OTT platforms. To the extent that exclusive releases of films and making films and series exclusively for these platforms became a thing. What appealed most to artists about these platforms is the freedom that it brings along with it. However, of late there have been talks and discussions over introducing censorship on OTT platforms. While nothing has been set in stone, filmmakers and artists have been giving their opinion on the same. Amidst this Netflix also introduced its first Telugu anthology titled Pitta Kathalu which has been helmed by Tharun Bhascker, Nandini Reddy, Nag Ashwin and Sankalp who have all explored the dark side of relationships.
In an exclusive chat with Bollywood Hungama, all four directors expressed their views on OTT censorship.
I think censorship of cinema itself has not worked very well. We have big ticket commercial films in which women are abused, women are slapped, double meaning songs and there is a huge amount of violence. Video games carry more crass stuff and violence than cinema. What are we doing with that? With the internet, seriously, censorship is really not making sense. What does make sense is you categorize your films, PG rated or so and so and let people make the choice. Problem is censorship is boiling down to one group of people and how they apply their thoughts to what is given on paper, issues of women and safety of women, slander of women. What is your interpretation of it, it is boiling down to that. So it can’t be onesize and that one theory fits all. It’s hard, you cannot measure or judge art that way. Basically I have a problem with any kind of censorship, God save us when it happens to OTT.
“I feel the same way. When you have the power in your hands to actually choose to pause, rewind, close the player, and watch it later. When you are making the choice and it is not public viewing when you can watch it in your home, I think you should also have the choice to watch whatever you want. Why cut the voice of filmmakers and artists? I don’t see the point . The Internet is all about democratisation. I think it is the opposite. We are trying to control people and asking them to watch a specific kind of content.
Sankalp Reddy :
My opinion of censorship is that filmmaker have to be more sensible and how do you define sensibility is how their upbringing is, how their education is, how they see society. So it is up to them to make the right choice so they do not create panic among a set of people which obviously they will get in any way. I don’t know how censorship applies on OTT.
I agree with all of them because once you have the internet and you have Youtube, you can’t censor that. You can’t censor anything. You can choose, you can have the small satisfaction of cutting a scene or dialogue on the OTT, but it could be out there anywhere and anybody can access it anyway. I think at some point of time the concept of censorship might have made sense but not anymore.
Pitta Kathalu is currently streaming on Netflix.