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Putting Up with Censorship in India

"Control Is an Illusion"

Amazon finally launched its on-demand video platform in India and it got me really pumped! Last night I started watching Mr. Robot on Amazon Prime Video. A few minutes into the first episode, and I realized that Mr. Robot is my kind of a show. But that didn't really come as a surprise. One of my fellow otaku once told me the same thing. Mr. Robot was under my radar even before he said that. When The Verge covers a TV show, you know you gotta watch it. After watching a few minutes of the show, I realized something was a bit off. The same "odd-ness" happened a few times more and I finally realized that the show was censored. I was furious 😠 I was disappointed with Amazon India. One of the main reasons for my disappointment was that content on the Internet is generally not censored. But the most annoying part was the abrupt scene changes and sudden silences, breaking the immersive experience.

My Gripe with Amazon Prime Video

As I looked around I found that most of the English TV shows were censored. But Amazon India didn't stop there, even Indian movies have been censored. All the films with "A" ratings have been censored heavily (obviously). Even films with "UA" ratings have been censored. Films that ran in the theaters openly have been censored. Labeling a film 18+ and then censoring it? It makes no sense to me. Why even bother to include these movies in your catalog? What boggled me the most, the following scene was cut as well! Can somebody from the Prime Video team tell me why?

Art Should Not Be Censored

Art is how someone expresses themself. If someone doesn't like the art, tell their friends about how dirty, perverted and low-life the artist is. But they should never be allowed to modify the art and present it to others saying "this is what I think you should see". Allowing this would have dangerous results. 
  1. First of all it will limit what one can experience and leave their art on the mercy of others. No one should be able to decide what someone else is able to read, watch and enjoy. This is the same reason why Facebook's Free Basics was banned. May be you didn't like it. That doesn't mean I won't like it as well. And in the end if I really don't like it, no one gives me the right to ruin the experiences of others.
  2. And secondly, art reveals the views of the artist. If art is allowed to be modified, it would leave a wrong impression of the artist views.
Imagine, if someone thought Monalisa didn't look right... that she was ugly. That her smile was insulting or that her hair was offensive to some culture and modified the painting... would like that version? It's not how Leonardo da Vinci envisioned Monalisa, it's how that person did. You won't be looking at Leonardo's art, you would be looking at a "revised" version of it. I'm sure artists all over the world, would agree that no matter how quirky, weird, dirty, hateful or perverted an art is, it should never be censored. So dear CBFC and BCCC, if you don't want people to view and appreciate art in its full glory, don't allow it at all. Just don't ruin it by injecting your ideas and views. The art depicts how the artist saw the world. Just by censoring the art, you can not shield people from being exposed to the "evilness" shown in it. On the other hand the uncensored version would let people get familiar with the "real" world. So why censor indeed. If you don't wanna see the world with the artist's eyes, just don't see it. But don't ruin it for others. Art will always find someone who'd appreciate it.

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