Unlocking the unseen: Jawan to Pathaan, Deleted scenes in OTT releases


As recent films take on the digital stage of OTT platforms, a new phenomenon is taking center stage: deleted scenes. Gone are the days when the makers had to depend on theatres. Now, films are becoming an integral part of our streaming experience. We delve into the recently released and soon to be premiered film releases on OTT that have brought forth the trend of showing deleted scenes that didn’t make it to the theatre, including Shah Rukh Khan starrer Jawan and Pathaan, and Ranbir Kapoor’s Brahmastra, and what could have been Akshay Kumar’s OMG2 as well. Is it going to become a new trend or would filmmakers take advantage of no censorship on OTT now?

Brahmastra featured Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt
Brahmastra featured Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt

We also dig into a thought-provoking question: Is the role of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) being underestimated due to the same? We talk to trade analysts to weight in.

Girish Johar, Film Producer and Trade Analyst

It is definitely an advantage, because OTT is in a self-censorship format. But having said that, if makers are trying to release additional footage after a theatrical release, it is more of a self belief of a particular talent because there is liberty on OTT. And if the maker wants to tell the story originally what was thought, I don’t think that’s a problem. The Censor Board tries to cut down scenes that may become an issue. Power of CBFC lies with the theatrical version and that is being fully adhered to. It is a big grown content in Hollywood, as Spiderman and many other films released on OTT with their deleted versions. It is a rehashed version of old DVDs that used to have such things.

Atul Mohan, Trade Analyst

OTT has a completely different way of functioning, as you can show abusive language, nudity and many other factors. If a movie has been certified by the board, that should only be shown everywhere. Since OTT doesn’t fall under the category to be censored, people are taking advantage of that. They must have realised that this is the best way to draw the audience as the only advantage they have is that they can market the movie in a way that it has deleted scenes in the OTT version. Because, agar film theatre par nahi chali toh OTT par bhi nahi chalegi, ya theatre par chali toh OTT par bhi chalegi, toh the only benefit is marketing, which will attract a section of subscribers and fans. Kal ko government OTT par bhi censorship laga sakti hai. Youtube par restricted content hai, par thankfully abhi tak yeh log bache hue hain.

Komal Nahta, Film Trade Analyst

It’s not just about objectionable or bold scenes, it is also to ensure that people watch it again on OTT because of the thrill of getting something new to watch. This used to be done on DVDs also earlier, in which there used to be deleted and unseen sequences. So, this is just a marketing ploy, so that people feel they should watch it on OTT ki kuch toh naya milega. Whichever new platform, they will do these types of tricks to offer something new to the audience. There’s no nudity in films like Jawan and Pathan, but in many other cases it would be to showcase bold scenes or additional dialogues to add a sense of novelty. It would be beneficial for both filmmakers and the OTT platforms. It benefits everybody in the line.

Akshay Rathi, Trade Expert and Distributor

It’s hardly something very off the musings. Jab aap theatre mai release karte ho toh aapke kuch compulsions hote hain to clear the CBFC procedure, ensuring that the length of your film is appropriate and the storytelling is not impacted. So, all these limitations are there in a theatrical release and OTT helps in optimising that format. In OTT, the length is not a problem as you are sitting at home and it even can have scenes which have not been cleared by the board, so it is perfectly okay. These things should actually be encouraged.

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