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

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

-Show Game Sacred, Vikramaditya Motwane told me that after the outbursts of that passage, she was told to avoid having “anything to do with religion”. Local media reported that the government began investigating streaming censorship due to the lynching scene. The news that this could happen appeared around the industry.

I traveled to India in late 2019 to see how the country’s streaming industry was struggling against Hindu nationalism.

Srishti Behl Arya comes from a family of Bollywood filmmakers. His father, director and producer, worked with the legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan. When she was little, she used to go with her parents, where the actors and other children in the group pretended to be movie stars. “We ran like psychologists,” Netflix told me when I visited Bandra-Kurla, Mumbai’s wealthy suburban business, in its offices.

In 2018, Netflix hired Arya to commission the long-running content. That year, the company made more than 20 original films and five original series in Hindi. But that did nothing to change his public character. In a country with more than 24 major languages, Netflix was still seen as an English platform for West India. And that’s where Arya came in, who knew all the important ones in the Hindi film. He worked in commercials, and then as an actor and writer, before moving on to television production.

He soon gathered many of his childhood friends, who went on to become some of the most powerful people in the Hindi film industry, to work on Netflix. He signed with Zoya Akhtar to direct a short film that was his last feature film for the Indian Oscars. Like Arya, Akhtar belongs to a film family, but since Bollywood is a male-dominated industry, it is almost impossible for a female filmmaker or a woman-directed film to make capital. In contrast, several women directed Netflix projects. The biggest star on the platform is Radhika Apte, a Bollywood actor who has appeared in so many Netflix productions, a joke she makes on every hanger on the net.

Srishti Behl Arya, who directs Netflix’s original Indian film division.


But working with Bollywood meant addressing his shortcomings. Netflix held several workshops in Mumbai to train creative content in India. He taught them how to develop an important series, but also helped them work on basics like writing, programming, and budgeting. “That’s how we add value to the industry,” Arya told me. “Helping to get more organized.”

The last day I did it in Mumbai I went to visit Red Chillies Entertainment, the production house that produces Netflix shows by Shah Rukh Khan. In 2017, Hastings and Khan appeared together slipped promotion announces a new spy thriller called Blood bard.

The porch was empty the day I arrived, except for the beautiful sculpture of Ganesha, a Hindu god who is seen as the guardian of the arts. It was wrapped in plastic to protect the building from dust. Nearby, some barefoot workers used electrical appliances without any protective equipment. On the fourth floor, an exhausted-looking man with slippers on his feet and salt on his dark hair came out of an edition edition. A few years ago, a new graduate of the London Film School, Patrick Graham, a friend who was struggling to get projects, suggested he try Bollywood. He moved at first, drowned in censorship. But then, in 2018, Netflix India was given a budget to produce a fictional series for Graham, where Muslims gather in internment camps. They were also brought in to write the script Leila. When we met, he was gathering production Pay, a four-part zombie series that would be published in the next episode. A few months earlier, in a phone interview, Graham seemed like an opportunity. “It’s massive,” he said. But, face to face, in Mumbai, he had fallen. “I have to remove everything that might examine and hurt the series,” he told me gloomily. “It’s gaining overly sensitive people.”

In November 2020, Hindu nationalists went after Netflix. Mira Nair’s acclaimed adaptation of Vikram Set’s novel The right boy showed a Muslim boy kissing a Hindu girl. A BJP youth leader filed a police complaint about the series, “for filming kiss scenes on temple premises.” The leader accused him of promoting “love jihad”, which is a conspiracy theory that Muslim men seduce Hindu women into converting to Islam.

still of a proper boy
Movie scene The right boy. Starting from the left: Danesh Razvi, Tanya Maniktala.


In January, another group of Hindu nationalists denounced the crime, this time as a result of a political drama called Amazon Prime Video Tandav. They didn’t care about the image of an actor dressed as the Hindu god Shiva. The director quickly apologized to the public and deleted some offensive scenes. But he was still named in police complaints in six states, along with his actors and crew members. Prosecutors also accused Aparna Purohit, who directs the original Indian programming for Amazon, of counterfeiting, promoting cyberterrorism and class hatred.

The following month, the government announced what it called streaming services as a “soft-touch self-regulatory architecture”. This new code of ethics, which is sometimes voluntary, comes with ratings and a claims system via streaming, as well regulated as film and television.

After the new code was announced, Amazon Cancel next season Family Man, a planned spy thriller and follow-up Paatal Lok, a series of crimes. He also announced plans to co-produce India’s first film — a mythological tale starring Akshay Kumar, an actor known for his close relationship with Hindu nationalists.

Netflix entered India when hundreds of millions of Indians discovered the internet. He helped create a new language for Indian streaming. In 2020, the subscriber base was estimated to rise to 4.2 million. But whether companies — and streaming services in general — can be successful depends largely on issues beyond their control.

Kashyap, the director, believes he has a handle on the censorship issue. “We’ll tell you what we mean,” he told me. “We’ll just find different ways to say it.” On March 3, tax authorities searched his home and several other Bollywood stars, Nawab Malik, a spokesman for the opposition Congress Party. describe as an attempt to intimidate. On the same day, Netflix India announced a list of 40 new movies and series.

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