Image source: Isaac Mao
On November 11, the government of India announced that OTT streaming platforms will hereafter come under the ambit of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry — a ministry that has had a history in regulating and censoring national entertainment and media content. So far, India hasn’t really had any laws to regulate online streaming content, which is also possibly why a great majority of the youth appreciate web series and OTT movies, because of the freedom in them. This move, to place OTT platforms under the I&B, has met with mixed responses. The Indian Express wrote:
The move to bring the OTT platforms under the I&B ministry could also mean that these platforms would have to apply for approval of the content they wish to stream. This in itself is likely to give rise to many conflicts as most OTT platforms have content that could otherwise be censored in India.
We’re quite sure that the way we are entertained is going to change entirely. Because this has happened before, and will keep happening. Taking from our own history, here are 5 inevitable things we expect from this change:
1. More sanskari content
In 1952, the then Minister of I&B, B.V. Keskar of the Congress party, declared that because filmy songs were far too degenerate, westernised, and influenced by Urdu. Banning popular Bollywood songs only made Indian listeners switch to Radio Ceylon, which took advantage of this ban in India and streamed the best Bollywood gaane. And that’s how Binacala Geetmala became such a sensation. Get ready for the same to happen to Indian web series. We’ll all be watching different variations of Sooraj Barjatya’s Hum Saath Saath Hain.
2. More amazing shows on our amazing leaders
If you haven’t already watched Modi: The Rise of a Common Man just yet, watch it and tell us what you think, whether the show lives up to its modest, humble title and protagonist. Because we’re going to have variations of this on every OTT platform.
3. Wayyy more VPN downloads
Look, we Indians, we human beings, always find a way out. Be it switching to Sri Lanka’s radio in 1952, illegally buying porn magazines in the 80s, finding American TV on YouTube in the 2000s, or now downloading VPNs to cross nation barriers, we have always found a way. If the I&B thinks they can censor us, they should remember that we have the world’s largest number of engineers too.
4. More “educational” content🙄 (and not the fun kind)
For a country that’s so conservative and anti-sex, we have the highest number of population and sex crimes. Shows like Sex Education may be raunchy and crazy, but they also provide important knowledge through the medium of entertainment. Say goodbye to sex ed, say hello to real education. With the coronavirus pandemic and schools moving online, the next step would be to make maths, physics, geography, history, literature classes online. Netflix is gonna get really boring, guys.
5. More Hindutva 🚩 🚩 🚩 bots
The amount of flak that shows like Sacred Games, Paatal Lok, Mirzapur received for apparently being “anti-Hindu” got overwhelming, especially in the last year. Most Twitter users who tweet hate against these shows and actors like Ali Fazal and Farhan Akhtar, are actually bots. And the ones who aren’t bots are those who are easily offended — and offended by everything. These are shows that are gritty because they expose the flaws in the system, and the truth is always a bitter pill to swallow. So they’re the first ones who will come under the I&B’s radar. Get ready for more Twitter hate 🙂.