Director Anurag Kashyap is delighted to have his film “Kennedy” screened at the Cannes Film Festival. However, he has also expressed concerns about the state of independent cinema in India. In an interview with Forbes India, Kashyap stated that the independent film scene in India is currently facing confusion and crisis. He believes that streaming platforms in India are treating filmmakers in a manner similar to the practices of the East India Company. Kashyap explained that the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has had a detrimental effect on independent cinema. While streaming platforms initially provided a platform for independent films, the situation changed during the lockdown when mainstream movies also began to be streamed. As a result, Kashyap argues that streamers now prioritize mainstream films over independent ones. He emphasizes that independent filmmakers need to make an extra effort to survive in this challenging environment.
Drawing a parallel to the East India Company’s colonialist practices in India, Kashyap criticizes the business strategies employed by streaming platforms in the country. He compares the initial friendly approach of streaming platforms to the East India Company’s initial interactions with India, eventually leading to colonization and domination. Kashyap openly expresses his concern about streaming platforms gaining control and ruling over the industry. Kashyap further predicts that as streaming platforms grow stronger, they will directly impact traditional theaters, viewing them as adversaries. He warns that if one observes closely, theaters will eventually face restrictions and limitations as streaming platforms continue to gain power.
Anurag Kashyap has been actively involved in the streaming platform scene in recent years. He has worked on Netflix’s first Indian original series, “Sacred Games,” and his 2020 film “Choked” was released on the streaming platform. Kashyap has also contributed to Netflix anthologies such as “Lust Stories” and “Ghost Stories.” Although his last two films, “DJ Mohabbat” and “Dobara,” were initially released in theaters, they gained significant attention only after their release on streaming platforms. Kashyap’s observations and experiences in the streaming industry highlight the challenges faced by independent filmmakers in India and the changing dynamics of film distribution and consumption.