Netflix shelves Indian film ‘Tees’, director Diwakar Banerjee looking for new buyers

Exclusive: Indian director Diwakar Banerjee Tees Shelved by Netflix and the author is now looking for a new home for the feature

Netflix confirmed that it has no plans to release the feature, but did not comment on the reason for its removal.

Tees Announced in 2019 as a Netflix Original under the previous title freedom “The story of an Indian family intertwined with India’s personal, ideological and sexual history.”

Banerjee shot the Hindi-language film in 2020 and distributed it to Netflix in May 2022, but has no plans to go ahead with the release until the streamer is confirmed.

International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR) invited Tees to premiere in the Limelight section of this year’s edition, but Banerjee was unable to get Netflix’s approval to screen the film.

Netflix confirmed that it allowed Banerjee to send links to films to potential buyers, but the streamer doesn’t appear to support festival screenings of films it doesn’t plan to release. Banerjee says this puts her in a “chicken-and-egg situation” as she doesn’t know how to reach buyers without a festival or market screening.

Banerjee also said she believes India’s changing political climate contributed to Netflix’s decision.

“Netflix never gave me a reason other than they didn’t know if the time was right to release this film,” Banerjee told Deadline. “What happened with the frenzy, the only conclusion to be drawn is that Netflix is ​​reluctant to release the film for fear of being similarly targeted. But the film I have made is completely different from the web series.”

Tees One of the few features and series that have been shelved or changed by streaming platforms in India’s increasingly intolerant political climate. Most notably, criminal charges were filed against Prime Video executives and cast and crew members of its Hindi-language series in 2021. the frenzyFollowing complaints by politicians from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and their supporters.

Set across three time periods, Tees Following a middle-class Muslim family across three generations – the first section is set during the 1990s unrest in Kashmir; The second section follows the daughter of the family, who finds it difficult to buy an apartment in modern Mumbai because of her religion; And the third section is set in a dystopian future and follows his son as he struggles to publish his novel.

It has an ensemble cast of respected stars and actors including Naseeruddin Shah, Kalki Koechlin, Huma Qureshi, Shashank Arora and Neeraj Kavi.

Indian OTT content production is on the rise, but all streamers face self-censorship, an increasingly authoritarian political environment, and complications related to religious intolerance and online trolling. Banerjee is known for a variety of films including politics, social issues and sex Khosla ka Ghosla, Shanghai And LSD: Love Sex or Deception – But says Tees Not a confrontational film.

“It’s not about an arson incident – it’s about the daily life of an average middle-class urban family across three generations. But now my story is becoming like one of the main characters in the film,” he says.

“I also believe that this is my best film so far. Although it has universal themes, it is made for an audience that remembers my other films and is inspired to watch a film made by me, so it saddens me that they won’t be able to see it.”

Banerjee began contacting distributors, investors, producers and other parties, both in India and internationally, who might be interested in acquiring the film from Netflix.

In view of this the frenzy Incidentally, several web series and films, including the Anurag Kashyap adaptation, have been delayed in India. highest cityA non-fiction novel about Mumbai written by Suketu Mehta, and the second season of Prime Video’s crime drama underworld. the frenzy Prime Video was eventually streamed when authorities agreed to assist in the investigation, cutting Prime Video and dropping criminal charges.

Streaming platforms in India operate under a system of self-censorship with broad guidelines provided by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, requiring them to participate in a three-tier “grievance redressal mechanism” to address viewer complaints. Grievances that escalate to the third level are directly dealt with by the Ministry of I&B.

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