Displeased with Amazon India's self-censorship of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, US heads bar tampering of international content; policing to be limited to local shows
A still from The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Indian fans of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel were in for a rude shock when the second season aired on Amazon Prime earlier this month. In an act of self-censorship, the OTT platform had blurred several scenes that featured cigarettes and cigarette packs. It has now been learnt that the suits at the American headquarters were not too pleased with the development and picked up a discussion with the content team of Amazon India earlier this week.
Following a lengthy dialogue between the two teams, it has apparently been decided that censorship and disclaimers will be limited to their Indian shows. We hear the Indian arm has been categorically told to not edit content sourced from their American counterpart.
A source from the OTT channel told mid-day, "Our internal policy has been decided as per the guidelines of the government of India on what can and cannot be screened for an Indian audience. One may argue that the guidelines in India are restricted to what can be screened at public theatres, but Amazon India exercises its own discretion on what is suitable to be aired. Since the company has interests in the country that extend beyond OTT, it wants to play by the rules and not flout guidelines, since it might lead to hurting sentiments of people."
With the latest diktat coming into effect, the team will have a freehand on homegrown content such as the upcoming seasons of Inside Edge, Breathe and Mirzapur. "But the series that are handed from the US and other countries will have to be aired as they are," added the source.
The Indian division's practice of self-censorship came to the fore in 2016 when an episode of The Grand Tour was cut down by almost 30 minutes. The segment in question featured cow's organs being placed in a car. The platform had reportedly stated that it was done keeping Indian cultural sensitivities in mind.
Amazon Prime did not deny the report, while declining to comment at the time of going to press.