There is plenty of confusion in the setting up of internal institutional mechanism for censorship of content on Indian OTT platforms as required by the new IT rules. Last heard, we may have two such bodies.
But even before those panels come into being, the streaming platforms themselves are resorting to some form of censorship or editing, bowing to the apparent wishes and sentiments of the viewers. One such web series that was reportedly snipped quite a bit is the biggest hit of this year so far --- The Family Man - Season 2.
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It is now reliably learnt that the makers of the series chopped a few of the scenes that were deemed too sensitive for the Tamil Nadu populace and the Sri Lankan Tamils. The series, in this season, has the Sri Lankan Tamils issue (and the LTTE, though mentioned euphemistically) as the backdrop. And the series ran into controversy after the Tamil politicos protested when its trailer was released.
The bone of contention was, of course, the portrayal of Lankan Tigers as being hand in glove with ISI terrorists.
In the event, Amazon Prime Video, whose home production is the web series, hand-picked a few journalists and celebrities in Tamil Nadu and sent out the series for advance viewing and feedback.
And based on the comments received, the platform decided to edit out a few portions that were pointed out as being a bit controversial. "There were many scenes that have faced the scissors," a journalist privy to the preview said.
The series makers and the platform did not want the series to face the fate of Tandav. It may be recalled that Tandav's makers and Amazon Prime Video had to put out an apology after a few scenes in it were held to be hurting the religious sentiments of Hindu groups.
Rather than trigger such a backlash, Amazon Prime Video this time around played it safe and got cut a few of the portions that were apparently 'edgy'.
As it happens, the version that was eventually streamed has kind of wowed the general public. But even here, some politicos and the usually uproarious section of Tamil twitter feel that the series has grossly depicted the LTTE and the Lankan Tamil struggle.
Dhanush starrer on Netflix too chopped
Meanwhile, the Tamil film Jagame Thanthiram, which is a big-ticket direct-on-OTT release this season on Netflix, has also had cuts. But for less controversial reasons.
The platform and the makers have decided to edit out 3 songs (out of the 8 in the movie). This is being keeping in mind the sensibilities of the viewers on OTT platforms.
"Unlike watching movies in theatre, audiences can pause and play the movie or take breaks in between as per their convenience. Cutting down the number of songs was a creative decision we took after taking into account the viewing experience for audiences,” the film's director Karthick Subburaj said during a recent Twitter Spaces session that was part of the promotion of the film.
The songs that were cut out will, however, feature in the film when it is released on television and in theatres in the future.
For the record, this particular Twitter Spaces session, hosted by Sony south channel, had 17,000 participants at one time, and this might be a record for the nascent audio offering from the platform.