Actor Ajay Devgn on Thursday said the digital space needs to be regulated “to a point” because with complete freedom, people will take advantage of the medium. The Centre on February 25 had notified new rules and guidelines for OTT (over-the-top) platforms and digital news media, requiring them to make public their details and having a grievance redressal system in place.
Devgn, who is gearing up for the release of his feature film “Bhuj: The Pride of India” on OTT and will make his digital debut with the series “Rudra – The Edge of Darkness”, said he hopes the regulations are not a step in the wrong direction.
“It is an area of concern to a point. To a point it needs to be regulated but we should not start going backwards. Regulations should be right. The fear isn’t that it’s getting regulated. The fear is what the regulations are,” Devgn said in a group interview.
In February, the then Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar held an interaction with representatives of various OTT platforms, including ALTBalaji, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Jio, Zee5, Viacom18, Shemaroo and MX Player.
While addressing representatives of the industry, the former minister had mentioned that in the past, the government had held several rounds of consultation with OTT players and stressed on the need for “self-regulation”.
Commenting on the same, Devgn further said the regulations should be in place to keep a check on any unwarranted content, but more clarity is required on what could become problematic online.
“If we don’t regulate something, people take advantage. Four people taking advantage will spoil the name of the whole industry. If you don’t regulate, people will start putting porn on it also. So regulations are important but there has to be a line drawn,” he added.
“Bhuj”, headlined by Devgn, will be released on Disney+ Hotstar VIP on Friday. Billed as a “true story” of bravery, patriotism and determination, the film is set against the backdrop of the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War. It was earlier set for a theatrical release but headed to the streaming platform due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 52-year-old actor said going straight to digital has not affected the film’s prospects. Amid the current situation where theatres haven’t opened across all states in the country, Devgn said it is better if “Bhuj” is seen by a wider audience on the streaming platform.
“Given the scenario, when you make a film, you want maximum people to see it and OTT is a good platform. I’m not saying all the films should be released on OTT but it’ll be a good balance in the future because theatres are going to come back in a big way.
“We release nearly 150 films a year and then people are only fighting for (space). There are no theatres available as three films release a day. So OTT will bring that balance. Either you can go on OTT or (theatres), as long as people are watching it, it’s fine,” he added.
“Bhuj” follows IAF Squadron Leader and then Bhuj airport in-charge Vijay Karnik, played by Devgn, who reconstructed an entire IAF airbase with the help of 300 women from a local village in Madhapar, near Bhuj, Gujarat to protect the country.
Directed by Abhishek Dudhaiya, the film also stars Sanjay Dutt, Sonakshi Sinha, Ammy Virk, Nora Fatehi and Sharad Kelkar.