The Broadcasting Content Complaints Council, which self-regulates India’s entertainment television industry, has recommended late-night slots or “watershed hours” for movies rated as “adult”, rather than content-distorting cuts to make them suitable for general television viewing. Telecasting adult movies in late-night slots is the norm in Western markets.
Justice (retired) AP Shah, the chairperson of the panel, said such a step would also conform to the viewing choices and rights of niche audiences.
A Bollywood film typically earns 15% of its revenue from ancillary sources, such as TV broadcast rights, according to Deloitte Touche Tomhatsu India, a consulting firm.
India does not allow pornography in any form, and pre-censorship screening is mandatory for all films before being labeled “adult” or “universal”. Therefore, adult movies in India aren't necessarily pornographic.
“We don’t have jurisdiction over film content, which lies with the Central Board for Film Certification. But there should be specific hours for movies under the adult category. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry could create a system for this,” Shah said.
A broadcast ministry official said the ministry was “seized of the matter” and an earlier committee had proposed a similar “watershed hour” model.
Shah said at present, films with adult content such as Gangs of Wasseypur need to be grossly cut specifically for television, resulting in “missing links”. “Instead of such adulteration, they could be telecast in late-night slots,” he said.
A large proportion of complaints taken up by the BCCC had to do with the portrayal of women and children, which had been satisfactorily settled, Shah added.
According to Deloitte, media habits of consumers in India’s metro and “tier 1” cities closely “resemble the sophistication of consumers” in developed markets. Experts said movies certified as “adult” could also be made available “on demand”, with newer television platforms, such as direct-to-home.