Online streaming app based platforms should not come under the censorship of the Central Board of Film Certificate (CBFC). Online streaming is known for being free from all sets of instruction that minimise the story content in mainstream films. Directors and writers can talk to the world through their work and raise questions. Online content is that which audience can relate to more and messages can hit the mind of viewers and communities, being what film is.
Online streaming provide platforms to directors, actors and writers to talk, work, show and write what society needs to hear and what we as society ignore in day to day life. It gives full freedom to directors to work in a free space that they might not do otherwise in mainstream cinema.
In the mainstream film industry, each and every film goes through screenings and gets a certificate from the CBFC. If there are intimate scenes, violent scenes or abusive language, either the film gets a ‘A’ certificate or the film director is asked to remove them. Once all objections are limited by the CBFC, only then is the film released. There are plenty of examples – Bandit Queen, Padmaavat, PK, Khalnayak, etc.
As per this article on HuffPost, Sagar Pandit, an official of Netflix India said, “Netflix is committed to protect artistic freedom. Protecting artistic freedom means having a set of guidelines that’d help you identify what content is suitable for whom. It’s uniform across platforms. The internet is not a cathedral, it’s a bazaar. Where in the traditional broadcast industry, everything was inside the cathedral, everything was linear, and on the internet you cannot do that. The web has no boundaries. Look, we are asking you to pay a premium. We want to give you a value for that. There’s a sense of accountability Netflix has towards its consumer and that won’t be compromised.”
Manish Agarwal, Business Head of Zee5, Zee’s streaming service, said, “For streaming companies, this is simply a thing about creating an environment of checks and balances and we see nothing wrong with it.”
When it comes to paying and watching for customer satisfaction and original content, what else does a viewer want? Else, no one would pay to watch content on online streaming apps. Digitisation and low cost internet tariff work as a bridge between the audience and unheard real stories that can reach every corner of India.
It also gives chance to subjects that everyone talks about but is never shown to the world. A Netflix Original series Jamtara shows how mobile phones are used for credit card scams. It starts in a small town in Jharkhand called Jamtara, where a few people get involved with the local MLA and build an empire.
This story is justified on a web platform as it is short, crisp and new to the world. In India, if anyone wants to do such a story, either they have to work as per CBFC rules or make documentaries which may be banned in many states due to political, religious, and social issues.
Online streaming platforms provide no sets of instruction. It is a place where directors work for the consumers, and in a sense remain one of the few places that provide a space to experiment and introduce new content to viewers.