Lust Stories
A still from Lust Stories on Netflix | @karanjohar/Twitter
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It is as if our courts and govt, having rid the society of all other evils, have taken up the onerous task of cleansing it.

Much before the Netflix censorship debate, for those of us growing up small town Jammu in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, entertainment meant good-old Doordarshan or Pakistan Television series. Issues like censorship and adult content was strictly off limits for us teenagers. Going to the cinemas was like a rare family picnic with a lot of planning and budgeting — unlike the current generation that just logs in, streams all kinds of risqué content online.

Last month, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court decided to ask the central government to take urgent steps to deal with the “disturbing trend” of “pornographic” content being made available easily to ‘pollute’ our gullible minds on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, etc.

Back in the day, Bollywood was the only entertainment source that sanskari sensibilities had to police. One of the most controversial, sexplicit movies of our times was Insaaf Ka Tarazu, which featured the rape of Zeenat Aman by Raj Babbar. No part of Aman’s anatomy was shown, but there was a suggestive scene about a bra strap that censors and Indian families frowned upon. And the movie was a strict no-no for the young. Ditto for movies such as Utsav and Aastha. We could simply not be allowed to be corrupted. Of course, all hell broke loose when the dakh-dhak girl Madhuri Dikshit kissed Vinod Khanna in Dayavan. Or when she sang the ‘Choli ke peeche’ song.


Also read: After Amazon, Netflix said to have agreed to censor its content in India


Now, there are primetime television anchors, ministries and courts that are the arbiters of our sanskari Bharat. This is 2018. Would they like us to return to an era when two flowers came together to indicate sexual intimacy?

At a meeting called by the information and broadcasting ministry last month, Netflix and Hotstar apparently agreed to “self-regulate” their content to ensure that sexually-explicit content couldn’t find its way into our laptops, computers, tablets or smart TV screens.

While Netflix claims it didn’t give any undertaking, the fact is that it has assured the government that it will self-regulate. It knows if it doesn’t, the government will do everything in its power to ensure it is not so easily accessed.

If only the mandarins in the I&B ministry and the information technology ministry knew how to ensure that porn isn’t so easily accessible via WhatsApp or some other dark social media platform. This way all our children might grow up into well-mannered sanskari Bharatiyas and not clones of the children in the so-called degenerate cultures of the wayward West.

Surely, the brightest of our kids, who cross all hurdles and exams to gain entry into the prestigious IITs and IIMs watch porn in their dorm rooms? Or are they told that watching porn could stunt their intellectual faculties?

It is as if our courts and the government, having rid all other evils, have assigned to themselves the onerous task of cleansing our society. Shouldn’t the courts and the government also use their time and energies to ensure that the conviction rate in cases of crimes against women goes up from the dismal 18.9 per cent?


Also read In pre-Netflix world, CID and two pegs of Bournvita is how we grew up


Or do they think that the answer lies in ensuring that we don’t have access to The Lust Stories or Sacred Games?

Incidentally, in 2015, the Centre asked internet service providers to restrict access to 857 websites that had pornographic content. This was done with the motivation to “protect social decency”. While the order was later modified to include only those sites that had child porn, most of the other websites continue to be unavailable to ordinary citizens.

So, what if you can access all sites via proxy servers or virtual private networks?

The government has done its duty by pushing the platforms. Now, it is for us, the gullible people, to change our mindset.

This is when we refer to the famous ‘Stewart obscenity test’. In 1964, US Supreme Court judge Potter Stewart famously said that it is difficult to describe pornography and added: “I know it when I see it”.

That is where the problem is. Individual thresholds are indeed different. But the threshold is also different for each generation of technology and people.

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4 Comments Share Your Views

4 COMMENTS

  1. Reasons for censorship :

    Through these contents like SG and TLS,

    1) women are being encouraged to not take children,

    2) men are being made insecure about their married life,

    3) married couples are pushed to think they also might have been cheated by their partners,

    4) religious intolernce and hatred being spread,

    5) love Jihad being encouraged,

    6) attempt to break the social structure,

    7) creating a dilusion that women are sex hungry and dissatisfied and waiting a chance to jump to bed with anyone,

    8) young minds are being brain washed to have a negetive thinking about people around and life altogether.

    9) endorsing of vibrator that is banned in India.

    10) creating an atmosphere of male hatred and suspicion, thereby creating anarchy in the lives of common Indians.

    Dear editor, the courts, govt and ministries are there for a reason and they are just doing their duty and they have people by their side.

    Because tomorrow if my life is ruined, no anurag, no karan and no zoya will come to settle me down and relieve my pain and sufferings which is triggered by them in a disguised manner.

  2. They say if want to stop a crime, find the source. If crimes against women are to be reduced then these contents should surely be filtered out that creates a one-dimentional mindset towards women and i.e. women are sex hungry. Please Dont act smart as we dont understand the motives behind such contents being made specially for India. Yes every person irrespective of man or woman has sexual desires but a boy who is in 6th standard doesn’t really need to know that her neighbour aunty may also be hungry for sex and may be wanting to engage with him right? Because when these movies are released they are not blocked to certain users. And we know it very well what is the motive behind endorsing vibrators and showing the mirage as if all married women in india are sexually dissatisfied.
    My question is do these directors or netflix or amazon prime take responsibility when their content create a discomfort between two couples ? Do they take responsibility when a child’s mind gets polluted and one-tracked towards women ?
    Do they think that it is only violence and lust and carelessness that prevail in the society ? Do they deliver content keeping in mind the average education level in the country and how it adversly may affect life of many ?
    The answers are NO. Hence, those who dont take responsibility for their deeds, do not deserve a right too.
    And not to forget we parents know how to use parental control on our devices and to nurture our children in a disciplined, controlled and chivalrious world away from the dirty thinkings of a few con minded people who use their talent in a wrong way.

  3. The intensity of expression in media platforms when we got independence is so low and so dramatic in all the entertainment and other mediums.But now it is so intense and near to the real life situations and circumstances.intercourse is so natural and lust is inherent,that’s how modern mediums express.dramatic songs were once compulsive and now are the scenes of romance.Asusual, come up with committee of pornographic experts and decide what’s porn in Indian context and decide what is not needed for the society.i hope parliamentarians hold expertise in this domain.

  4. Any channel that moves adult content to responsible viewers who can handle it with maturity should be given considerable leeway. The world is very different now from the time the Censor Board – actually Board of Certification – was set up, a proposition Pahlaj Nihalani would be more willing now to accept than when he headed it.

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