Netflix will give in to censorship and stop its worldwide streaming of uncut Indian films


Netflix will give in to censorship and stop its worldwide streaming of uncut Indian films

This year’s film reviews claim that Netflix has completely stopped offering uncensored cuts of Indian films on its platform worldwide. The policy change is noteworthy for what may have been the final Indian streaming service to air versions of Indian films before they were certified by the Central Board of Film Certification.

While discussions about the Central Board of Film Certification’s (CBFC) alleged unfair movie censorship heat up, uncensored versions of Indian films are no longer being streamed anywhere in the world on another, potentially final, streaming platform.

Netflix is now joining the ranks of OTT platforms that stopped showing variations of Indian films before receiving CBFC approval, It also states to have produced after a review of various films released this year.

The Report List Of Movies 2023

The report lists Amit Rai’s OMG 2, Lokesh Kanagaraj’s Leo, and Anubhav Sinha’s Bheed as some of the films that had scenes that dealt with adult, political, or communal themes cut out. A copy of the censor board’s cut list reveals that the pandemic-set movie Bheed featured voice-overs by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among many other political allusions. 

At the CBFC’s request, these references were substantially altered. Rather than airing the version the filmmakers had planned, Netflix decided to stream this version worldwide. Currently, that model is being used for all Indian movies, even in ways that aren’t compliant with Netflix’s internal censorship guidelines.

Leo, a movie starring Vijay from Tamil, was released in foreign theaters uncut, but it has been censored worldwide on Netflix. The director of OMG 2, a movie about sex education, expressed dissatisfaction with Netflix’s decision in interviews with entertainment publications after the movie was censored to remove scenes in which actor Akshay Kumar played the Hindu deity, Shiva, despite the film receiving an “A” rating for adults. 

Despite the censor board’s mandate being restricted to theaters and television, Netflix’s adoption of this practice effectively gives it indirect control over the movies that Indians watch anywhere, including online. It has been censoring references to well-known business figures in addition to protecting the public from political allusions. For example, the CBFC removed a scene in the movie Japan that mentioned “Ambani Adani.” The version with no names for the men is available on Netflix.

With rare exceptions for particular films, other streaming services have been using this strategy for some time now, but Netflix’s adoption of it gives the CBFC indirect control over what Indians watch in movies, even when they’re watching them online.

According to reports, the streaming service Netflix and other platforms have been closely examining the socio-political implications of the original shows they commission. The Screenwriters Association stated in a press release that streaming platforms and the film industry have made it mandatory for authors, in signed agreements, to “compensate producers if there is a political and social protest” to their work. These practices are probably the result of fear of online crowds and police action for any economically outspoken content. Following the 2021 political series, Aparna Purohit, head of Amazon Prime Video’s original content, had to deal with a police summons.

“We have a huge variety of Indian original films and TV shows, all of which reflect our long-standing support for creative expression,” Netflix said in an interview, despite not answering questions regarding its evolving censorship policies. This diversity sets us apart from the competitors and reflects the wide range of tastes among our members.

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