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Bittoo Sabki Lega: Censor Board Trouble? Put It Online

Film producer Abhishek Pathak uploaded the trailer of his movie Bittoo Boss on YouTube, when, it appears, the censor boards refused to clear it for the big screen, and didn’t even give a reason for not clearing it, reports Bollywood Hungama. I saw the trailer a week ago (and shared it on facebook as well), and find it surprising that it wasn’t allowed by the censors. Sure, the script of the trailer “Bitto sabhi lega” has sexual innuendo and is tongue-in-cheek, but it’s not really offensive. The video:

Whether this is about manufacturing controversy or not (who knows?) uploading the video to YouTube in what the producers call an “uncensored format” is a form of dissent, this is a rebellion, because of a difference in sensibilities of a censor board, and what a producer or director perceives to be acceptable to an audience. Brands have used virals for advertising for years, but what I find particularly interesting here is that film producers are recognizing both the viral and the uncensored nature of the web, as well as its reach; the video has seen 134,022 views at the time of writing this post, and while it hasn’t quite reached Kolaveri Di proportions of becoming a phenomenon, it is spreading.

A Few Points To Note

– Why Not More? This does beg the question – given that there is such a massive gap between levels of censorship of traditional media (significant) and the Internet (none), why don’t content creators treat them differently? Why isn’t there a different online, uncensored version for films, music videos and trailers? Perhaps they don’t want to tempt censorship.

– The fine balance between music labels and producers: As we were told once, music labels tend to buy a significant inventory on television, in order to lower the cost of music acquisition from producers, and producers are primarily concerned about the theatrical and television revenue from films, and dependent on television commercials for drawing in an audience for the first week of release. It is early days still, but with the Internet emerging as an independent alternative for promotion of films, we wonder how this might impact the equation between film producers and music labels.

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– What Will Censors Do? This instance of bypassing the censors via the Internet also lends itself to a slightly different issue: when the Internet does become a medium with a reach wider than that of television through mobile, once telecom and BWA operators get their act together, what does the censor board do? Do they then start hauling up producers for publishing on the web content which wouldn’t be kosher on television?

– Involve The Fans? I know this may seem tangential, but why isn’t there also a move to encourage more involvement of fans. For example, see what happened with the recent Dark Knight trailer: see the original, the Lion King versionthe sweded versionthe cats version and… this could go on forever.

If There Was Pre-censorship: this probably wouldn’t have made it online

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