Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and their rivals compete in Modi’s India

Its Schwarner Holy Games, Vikramaditya Motwen told me that after the hustle and bustle around the episode, he was told that “something should be done with religion” to avoid it. Local media reported that the government took censorship streaming seriously because of the lynching scene. The news that this could happen has been re-captured around the industry.

I traveled to India in late 2019 to see how the country’s nascent industry is moving forward in the fight against Hindu nationalism.

Srishti Bahal Aryan is from the family of Bollywood filmmakers. Her father, a director and producer, worked with legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan. When he was younger, he came to the location with his parents, where he and the other children of the actor and crew pretended to be film stars. When I visited him at the Netflix office in Bandra-Kurla, a business district in Mumbai’s affluent suburbs, he told me, “We’ve run like Sycos.”

In 2018, Netflix hired Aryan to commission feature-length content. This year, the company made more than 20 original films and five original series in Hindi. But it did little to change the public’s personality. In a country with more than 24 major languages, Netflix is ​​still seen as an English language platform for Western Indians. And it was here that he knew everyone who identified important things in Hindi film. He worked in advertisements before Arya fit TV production and then as an actor and writer.

He soon enlisted many of his childhood friends, who grew up to become some of the most powerful figures in the Hindi film world to work for Netflix. He signed with Zoya Akhtar, whose last feature film was India’s official entry into the Academy Awards, for directing a short film. Like Arya, Akhtar also comes from a film family, but Bollywood is a male-dominated art so it is still almost impossible for any female filmmaker or feminist film to raise capital. In contrast, there are several female helmed projects on Netflix. The biggest star of the platform is Bollywood actress Radhika Apte, who has appeared in so many Netflix productions that online wags have made jokes among them all.

Shruti Bahal Arya, who manages the Netflix Indian Original Movies section.


But working with Bollywood means tackling its flaws. Netflix has conducted several workshops in Mumbai to train Indian content creators. It has taught them how to develop a large series, but also helps to build on the basics of how to write, schedule and budget. Aria told me, “This is how we can add value to the industry. “Helps make it more integrated” “

On my last day in Mumbai I went to Red Chillies Entertainment, a huge production house owned by Shah Rukh Khan, which shows Netflix shows. In 2013, Hastings and Khan appeared together A stagnant promotional skit Announcing a new spy thriller Blood Bird.

Without a beautiful sculpture of the singer Ganesha I arrived, the fantasy was lonely, who is seen as an artist patron Hindu wrapped in plastic to protect it from the dust of its construction. Around it some barefoot workers were operating power tools without any protective gear. On the fourth floor, a tired-looking man came up from an editing studio with slippers on his feet and salt in his black hair. Several years ago, when Patrick Graham, a graduate of the London School of Film, was advised by a friend to try Bollywood, he was fighting a battle over the Land project. He was corrupted at first, suppressed by censorship. However, in 2018, Netflix India has given Graham the budget to create a fictional series to get Muslims involved in entertainment camps. They brought him in to co-write the screenplay Leela. When we met, he was tidying up the production Pay, A four-episode zombie series that will be released next year. A few months ago, Graham seemed to have pumped the opportunity into a phone conversation. “It’s huge,” he said. But personally he was disappointed in Mumbai. He told me seriously, “I have to go through the series and remove anything that might be offensive.” “Extremely sensitive people are winning.”

In November 2020, Hindu nationalists again followed Netflix. The critically acclaimed adaptation of Mira Nair’s Vikram Seth’s novel A suitable boy A leader of the BJP’s youth wing, who showed a Muslim boy kissing a Hindu girl, complained about the series “for shooting a kissing scene under the temple premises”. The leader accused the show of promoting “love jihad” – a conspiracy theory that claims Muslim men are persuading Hindu women to convert them to Islam.

Still from a suitable boy
A scene from the movie A suitable boy. From left: Danesh Rajvi, Tania Maniktala.

Milan Maudgil / © Acron TV / BBC One / Courtesy Everett Collection

In January, another group of Hindu nationalists claimed crime, this time calling for a political drama on Amazon Prime Video Tandav. They did not take any care to portray the actor in the costume of the Hindu god Shiva. The director quickly apologized to the public and deleted some offensive scenes. But his cast and crew members, as well as police in six states, had his name on the charge. Prosecutors also charged Aparna Purohit, the head of Indian core programming for Amazon, with fraud, cyber-terrorism and promoting class hatred.

The following month, the government called for a “soft-touch self-regulating architecture” for streaming services. Ideally volunteer this new ethic brings ratings and a complaint system that effectively regulates streaming as strictly as film and TV.

Amazon after the announcement of the new code Canceled Upcoming season Family Man, A planned spy thriller and its aftermath Thin man, A crime series. It has also announced the co-production of his first Indian film A Legend starring Aks Akshay Kumar, an actor who is known for his close ties with Hindu nationalists.

Netflix entered India exactly when billions of Indians discovered the Internet. It helped create a new language for Indian streaming. In 2020, its subscriber base grew to 4.2 million. But whether the company and the streaming services in general – ultimately succeed – depends largely on matters beyond their control.

The director, Kashyap, believes he has a handle on the censorship issue. He told me, “We will say whatever we want to say. “We’ll just find different ways to say it.” On March 3, Nawab Malik, a spokesman for the opposition Congress party, stormed his home and several Bollywood stars, as tax authorities raided. Described As an attempt to intimidate. On the same day, Netflix India announced the slate of 40 new movies and series.

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