Filmmaker Jeo Baby suggested that artistic freedom in India was at risk in light of the streaming ban imposed against Tamil movie Annapoorani.
Filmmaker Jeo Baby has expressed concern over the prevailing climate of uncertainty in the film industry, owing to the rapidly changing political landscape in the country. He suggested that artistic freedom in India was at risk in light of the streaming ban imposed against Tamil movie Annapoorani.
Jeo Baby claimed that he was troubled by the "political and religious" censorship, noting a perceived diminishing resistance to preserving artistic freedom.
"Unfortunately, some people are giving in. Like the recent withdrawal of the film (Tamil film Annapoorani was pulled off the OTT platform). In effect, they are accepting that they are doing a crime or something. That's not good for the cinema or the artist or the society," said Jeo Baby told PTI.
Jeo Baby is known for addressing pressing social and political issues in his directorial outings. He shot to fame across the country following the release of his family drama The Great Indian Kitchen.
The Great Indian Kitchen itself courted controversy, leading several major streaming platforms to reject it. However, in 2021, the film premiered on the relatively new streaming platform, Neestream, instantly captivating audiences. Following its critical success, the movie was also remade in multiple Indian languages.
Jeo Baby last year scored a big theatrical success with Kaathal The Core. Starring Mammootty and Jyothika in the lead roles, the movie revolves around a closeted gay man, who is forced to come out after his wife of 17 years files for divorce. The movie garnered unanimous praise for Mammoothy's sensitive portrayal of a very sensitive issue.
Annapoorani was released last year in cinemas. Starring Nayanthara in the lead role, the film made its streaming debut on December 29 last year. Just days after its release, the film was removed from Netflix owing to political pressure. A section of audiences took offence to various scenes and ideas of the movie, particularly the suggestion that Lord Rama was a "meat-eater."
In the aftermath of the controversy, Nayanthara issued a statement apologizing to those whose sentiments were hurt by the film.