With the HD version of actor Rajinikanth’s film Kabali being leaked online, the threat of growing illegal market looms large on the Indian film industry. The leak, which happened in Malaysia, has raised a question on what steps are being taken to stop this demon.
Earlier, Abhishek Chaubey’s Udta Punjab and Indra Kumar’s Great Grand Masti were leaked even before their release, and with Kabali’s leak — despite the producers moving Madras High Cort and getting an interim injunction restraining 169 internet service providers (ISPs) in the country from giving access to illegal websites — Bollywood seems to have reached its tipping point.
Actor Varun Dhawan, whose recent release Dishoom obtained the John Doe order from Bombay High Court, which does not allow mobile services or internet services to allow illegal film download says, “Piracy is hurting our industry as a whole.People will always watch movies; piracy is giving them an alternative way of watching in it their phone. Maybe mobile service providers can ban illegal downloads automatically. I just feel we have to come together,” says Dhawan.
However, National Award winning filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar feels the problem is not just limited to protecting a film till release. “My concern is not just about before the release, my contention is also that if a movie is releasing on Friday, on Saturday on corner of the road, someone is sending DVD for Rs 50. I really want the central and the state government to have stringent laws against this which is eating up the revenue,” he says.
Filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee mirrors the same thought. “I have to say that Bollywood and worldwide distribution has to get more innovative to counter piracy. You need to get the films to people who want the film. You can’t sit on it and try to control it and wait for the audience to come to you,” he says
Actor Rajeev Khandelwal, however, blames the public that watches pirated copies of films. “Piracy is here because of illiteracy, people here don’t know what they are doing. Piracy means you are killing an industry, just the way you are not paying taxes and stealing it away from our government. If this continues, filmmakers will fear investing money in a film, people will start losing jobs and the industry will fade away,” he says.