India’s blues from web series OTT: Tandav Just the beginning of Tandava? | 2021
It seems, plausibly, that the outrage was waiting to happen. The growth of OTT platforms distributing online video streams has been tremendous in the last eight years in India; In 2018, its market capitalization was more than INR 21.5 billion which grew to INR 35 billion in 2019 and is around INR 40 billion now. The market cap is expected to grow at an exponential rate of 45% to reach around INR 138 billion in 2023 and over 158 billion in 2024. The platforms have a view of over 1.7 billion subscribers currently and are likely to rise to a whopping 5 billion dollars this year, This makes it the second largest OTT market after the United States. Except for Reliance Entertainment’s launch of BIGFlix in 2008, the largest 40-person OTT platforms such as SonyLIV, Disney-Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Voot, JioCinema and Zee5 started operations in India during 2013-18.
Initially, OTT platforms streamed feature films, documentaries, short films and the like, but over time they launched their own video productions of films, shorts and, most importantly, web series, and then streamed them to subscribers who could enjoy in their smartphones. and laptops and desktop computers. Herein lies the problem: Regulators have been set up for print and electronic media; for advertising sites; and for visual media including feature films, documentaries and any other theatrical releases; However, for OTT platforms, called digital media that includes social media and all other online expressions, there were no regulatory bodies, and this gave them a distinct advantage over others.
After watching streaming videos, especially web series with up to 9-10 episodes, one feels, again reasonably enough, that what the filmmakers cannot afford in making films to be approved, they can do in Most methods of self-immersion in OTT productions. This means: they can let their actors express all slang/abuse in abundance, they can show explicit sex scenes in graphic indulgence and they can also have immeasurable violence, in full gory detail. This massive advantage was bound to raise fears and alert hardliners, sooner or later.
While other forms of media, although organized, have faced attacks from militant groups and fringe elements, web series productions, despite featuring much of the bolder content, have continued to enjoy some kind of immunity except for the occasional PIL. This scenario is probably explained by the fact that OTT platforms mostly cater to urban users who have the required facilities, and viewing is primarily personal with headphones plugged in. Thanks to India’s digital calling campaign, the advent of Jio mobile and internet services, and the ensuing collapse in mobile and internet charges everywhere, the subscribers’ gates have also opened to a huge sector of rural India.
Naturally, the Government of India has begun to consider putting the massively growing digital media as a whole under its own regulations. Sensed by senior officials of the OTT department as well, working on a self-regulatory formula, they came together, sometime in early 2020. But this proposal was rejected by the government, and eventually in November 2020, the Government of India, through an Official Gazette notice signed by the Chief India, to bring all digital media under its control, i.e. under the supervision of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. After a barrage of protests and fears, the picture is still unclear about how this organization operates in practice.
Finally, all hell broke out like Hindutva The groups protested strongly against the new Amazon Prime Video web series, teasing (Disaster), objecting to some scenes in the series that supposedly mock Hindu deities. The Uttar Pradesh government went so far as to file FIRs against the producers of teasingAnd even the threat of arrests. The ruling National Party, as usual, came out with full support for the choir to work and some of its leaders pledged to bring these producers into custody at any cost. The producers were also summoned by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for clarification. The animations turned out to be complete Tandava Objections have also been raised to Amazon’s most popular web series Mirzapur- Season 1 and 2, after months of airing.
Whatever the premises of the objections, reference should be made here to the respective web series teasing They are poorly made and ridiculous, and do not even deserve controversy and free publicity.
We can give two funny examples here: First, the Prime Minister of India as portrayed in the series, eating alone in the huge hall without a single uniformed escort around, apparently no security guards or parlors outside as her politician interferes with the challenger, sitting Next to her, he grabs her plate and begins to eat it himself while giving dialogues; Second, a lady carrying a bag of INR 10 million in her car, enters the most protected VIP area of the supposed national capital, gets out of the car with the bag, goes to a trash can on the street and pushes the bag inside, then she enters another campus, encounters another rubbish bin , turns her down on the items, picks up the item allotted to her and leaves in her car, while she was doing all these procedures, no spirit was visible around the large area, forget security personnel or other cars. Objections to such numerous other scenes can also be raised, even by impartial connoisseurs of art and cinema. But why at all? The best thing is to let bad artwork sink without a bubble.
However, this is not the prevailing meaning now. Amazon Prime and the entire crew teasing I apologize unconditionally, and even the disputed scenes have already been deleted. but not! Those who set themselves up as protectors of religion and culture will see them arrested and punished, lest others dare! In an already polarized and deeply divided society, this does not bode well for the future of art and creativity in the country. Unfortunately, this Tandava, which is not at all related to the venerable Lord Shiva, is set to condense even more. It is time for the Government of India to come out with specific details of the intended regulatory measures.