I recently watched “The Boys”, a web series on Amazon Prime which showed a woman suffocating and crumbling a person’s head into mush by sitting on him and having an orgasm. Now as graphic as this sounds I wasn’t disturbed by it. The reason is obvious enough, violence has become so common in media that one is unfazed by it.

Actor Manoj Bajpayee

Actor Manoj Bajpayee recently told IANS “Webspace gives you a lot of freedom and one needs to be very responsible with the freedom. Using sex and violence just to attract the eyeballs is something that I don’t agree with when it’s not even required”.

Is This Hypocrisy?

Gangs of Wasseypur

His statement may seem odd considering he starred in the movie “Gangs of Wasseypur” which had lots of foul language. When the movie was released in 2012 this was unconventional, but now filmmakers have started to treat violence and cuss words as a shortcut formula for success.

The Content On Streaming Websites

“Ragini M.M.S.Returns” Web-series on Alt Balaji

Ekta Kapoor’s Alt Balaji has programs with names like “Gandi Baat”, “X.X.X. Uncensored”, “Ragini M.M.S. Returns”, as if the 2 movies we suffered through weren’t enough. They make it abundantly clear that they are trying to lure people with the promise of soft-core porn.

” Four More Shots Please” Web-series on Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime’s “4 More Shots Please” with its eye-rolling name, ill-defined characters and fake accented characters have ridiculous dialogues like “Uda de Tatte pe laat” and “the difference between men and condoms is that condoms have changed they’re no longer thick and insensitive” Yikes!

The show tries to attract the audience by use of such dialogues which are unneeded. Sexual liberation is a part of feminism but feminism is much more than this.

“Mirzapur” Web-series on Amazon Prime

Another show “Mirzapur” has a person being forced to fire a faulty gun which mutilates his fingers after he complained about the gun severing his another palm. The culprit then drives over the fingers with his car.

“Sacred Games” Web-series on Netflix

Netflix’s “Sacred Games” needs no introduction for its violent scenes depicting a man’s brain being exploded, nudity and plethora of swear words.

“Maaya” and “Twisted” by Vikram Bhatt also feature a lot of grunting and dry-humping to catch the viewer’s eye but has badly done scenes that feel like a skit. But hey the lip-lock scenes trended on Twitter so it’s all good.


Also Read: Watch: The Similarities In Sacred Games And Game Of Thrones


Psychological Conditioning

Effect of violence in Media

At one point in life, I would blush if people kissed; now I’m desensitized to it all. People’s tolerance for violence and blood has increased alarmingly. The real-life effects may include people becoming more aggressive and inconsiderate towards others’ pain and suffering.

Pilots In Hollywood Depend On Nudity To Increase Viewership

“Game of Thrones” HBO TV Series

Most of the TV series in the West employ this method of keeping the audience engaged by featuring endless nude scenes and torture. There were more scenes with nudity in the first episode of “Game of Thrones” than in all of the later seasons.

The proportion of sex scenes in brothels is significantly lowered. Indians took this as a profitable business model and delivered shows with succulent sex scenes and gore.

Unnecessary Sadism Should Be Avoided

I’m not asking to ban anything; some narratives involving ugliness require such crass scenes. But the context and the way it’s presented make all the difference.

Cersei’s “Walk of Shame” on Game of Thrones

Cersei’s walk of shame in “Game of Thrones” furthers the plot and character development, the scene made the audience uncomfortable and even sympathise with the diabolical character. Nobody was excited by the naked breasts here.

“Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli
“Birth of dragons” on Game of Thrones

Danerys’s emergence from the fire unscathed and with 3 newborn dragons was a moment of pure awe, which made the Dothraki kneel and submit. It was like an allegory to Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and not just a display of skin.

David Fincher’s movie “Seven” in its climax has a box containing the protagonist’s wife’s head, but this is not shown only convened through the disbelief of the characters, and our heartbeat still drops.

Lipstick Under My Burkha

Women’s sexuality and empowerment unfolded beautifully in the Bollywood movie “Lipstick Under My Burkha” with the grounded reality of relatable characters.

“Permanent Roommates” Web-series on TVFPlay

TVF has clean shows in its library namely Permanent Roommates which details the complexities of living together, Tripling which focuses on sibling relationships, Pitchers which deal with Indian start-ups. The shows are delightful and fun with sufficient growth in plot and storyline.

Similar Themes Embodying All The Shows

Most of the web shows come under the umbrella of thriller, crime, mystery, and erotica with the same tired dialogues and predictable scripts. The newness and innovation are missing.

I am starved for shows like The Good Place, Good Omens, The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel, This Is Us, Derry Girls, Chernobyl, The Expanse, The Leftovers, etc based in Indian surroundings.

Don’t Abuse The Freedom 

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, this is a principle the makers should be applying judiciously. The visual grotesquery achieves the effect of shocking the viewers but shouldn’t be applied needlessly.

Gore in Indian TV Series

The film-makers seem to misjudge the preference of their demographic audience. We are not frustrated voyeurs. A simple Google search would produce millions of results on sex and brutality.

Producers try to use provocative language to trick people into thinking that their show is daring. However, it should be the boldness in the story that carries the series forward.


Image Sources: Google Images

Sources: Hindustan Times, American Psychological Association, Filmfare

Find The Blogger: @ishitabajpai6


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5 COMMENTS

  1. I absolutely agree to almost everything you’ve mentioned here. But a few pointers.

    1. You cannot compare shows created by TVF to shows on other platforms… YouTube shows are free and will ALWAYS get easy popularity because they are free. Even if they are half decent, they will make it to people’s timelines. Free shows only need good content to become famous. If you put the same shows on paid platforms, they may not convert to paid subscriptions… (I do this so this is research backed)
    2. It isn’t like there aren’t shows without abuses nudity and violence. But just because they are not sensational, they dont make it to people’s top of mind recall. Ask average Indians about what web series they know and their top responses are usually Gandi Baat and Sacred Games. I work with ZEE5 so I can talk about the shows on our platform. Did you get around to seeing them? Probably not because you haven’t mentioned any of our shows here. We mostly stayed away from all that you’ve mentioned here in a lot of our shows… Rangbaaz; story of an encountered gangster (minimum blood, no nudity minimum swearing). The Final Call; story of a pilot with PTSD on a commercial plane, deciding to kill himself mid flight. (No nudity, abuse or violence at all). Kaafir; story of a Pakistani woman in an Indian prison. (Minimum nudity, minimum violence, minimum abuses)
    But as a commercial platform, while we are super proud of these shows, the numbers always come in with the ones that have nudity, violence and abuses. Even when they are marketed lesser…

    I get where you are coming from and I absolutely agree that these things shouldn’t be used only to grab eyeballs and should actually be used only if they contribute indisputably to the story. In an ideal world, that content would have worked. But this ain’t an ideal world… So you are going to see more content like this…
    But keep writing and maybe you’ll influence critical readers and things will change!

    • Thank you for the response. I understand how it might be a precarious position for any business platform to compete with shows that whose popularity in part is driven by nudity and violence.
      Sometimes such scenes are required to depict the ugliness and sickness that haunts us, what I want is for the filmmakers to be more judicious in there use of violence and sex, only when there is a need for it in the story.
      As you mentioned the shows on the platform you work for are employing these things in minimal proportions, I surely check them out, the premises for these shows seem interesting.
      And thank you again for the encouragement to continue writing your comment is very much appreciated and I hope you keep reading ED Times.

      • Could you maybe elaborate on why you find the article Hypocritical, I have stated in the article that the web-series shouldn’t be banned or censored, but filmmakers need to be more responsible in their depiction of such scenes, they are often used for getting the public’s attention and easy popularity instead of prolonging the story, that’s the point I wanted to drive through the article.
        Sorry, you didn’t enjoy the article I still hope you keep reading ED Times, thank you for your response.

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