In recent years, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian government has aimed to tighten its control over documentaries. Filmmakers, already subject to censorship, now find it harder than ever to bring their work to light. Sometimes, state officials don’t want to formally ban a film—lest they be accused of repression—so they instead rely on right-wing vigilante groups to incite opposition. When protests turn violent, authorities look the other way. “There is always this fear at the back of your mind,” Nakul Singh Sawhney, a filmmaker, says. “You don’t know how it’s going to affect you, right? I mean, they could just come and pick you up tomorrow. Right? They could just come and arrest you. And you could get beaten up, right? But people are still doing it.”Zainab Sultan is a former CJR Delacorte Fellow. Follow her on Twitter @ZainabSultan.
India’s clampdown on documentaries