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Amazon releases Lipstick Under My Burkha uncensored — here’s what it should do next

Amazon Prime Video has released Lipstick Under My Burkha fully uncensored in India, incorporating over two minutes of the film which were cut in the theatrical release. The film had been initially rejected by the Censor Board for being too 'lady-oriented', so the producers successfully obtained a certificate for theatrical release by going to the FCAT, an appeals body for the Censor Board. The FCAT ruling only came after the film consented to cuts above and beyond what the producers had already volunteered to remove from the film: the theatrical version had over 2 minutes of footage cut, and some swear words were muted. [read the FCAT ruling (pdf)] This is a significant step away from its usual censorship for Amazon, and the second baby step it has taken towards reducing censorship of its content in India: before this, they released an "International" version of the TV series American Gods, discoverable only in search results. Streaming services don't need to censor content in India. Both the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the Censor Board have said that they don't intend to censor, or create a mechanism to censor online content, including services like Netflix and Hotstar (and by extension, Prime Video). In spite of this, Amazon has chosen to censor several TV shows on Prime Video, and only uploaded the theatrical cuts of Indian films. Some American films are also censored, including those which were never theatrically released in India (like Anomalisa). Amazon said that it engaged in this censorship due to "cultural sensitivities". Read: Streaming services censor themselves in…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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