Film leaks are not acceptable: Bollywood lashes out

  • Anjuri Nayar Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 16, 2016 19:13 IST
Actors urge audience to watch Udta Punjab in theatres.

Filmmaker Abhishek Chaubey’s film Udta Punjab getting leaked online, two days before its release, has created quite a stir in the industry. The producers of the film filed a complaint with the Mumbai cyber crime police on Wednesday. The download links were then removed from the internet. Snapshots of the movie show that it was the same copy submitted to the censor board.

Actor Alia Bhatt, who is seen alongside actor Shahid Kapoor in the film, posted, “Guys please please do not waste 2 years of hard work, blood, sweat and tears.. Please watch #UdtaPunjab in only in theatres (sic),” while Shahid tweeted, “Blood and sweat of many in this film. It’s been your battle as much as ours. Now is the time you can show it. Watch UdtaPunjab in theatres (sic).”

Read: Udta Punjab leaked online, producers file complaint with cyber cell

Actor Sonakshi Sinha posted, “Shocking how #UdtaPunjab has been leaked online. That too a censor copy. A lot of hard work goes into making a film pls say NO to piracy! (sic). Actor Sidharth Malhotra posted, “Movie theatres r filled with dreams and entertainment,don’t kill them ! say no to piracy #UdtaPunjab at a theatre near u (sic).” Filmmaker Karan Johar also tweeted, “Viruses in the #UdtaPunjab links! Anyone downloading it will have a virus attack!! What a way to combat this awful piracy! #piracydimaadi (sic).”

This is not the first time that a Bollywood film has got leaked online before it’s release. Earlier filmmaker Ketan Mehta’s Manjhi - The Mountain Man (2015) had been leaked and there was a watermarked copy of the film on several torrent sites. Neil Nitin Mukesh-Soha Ali Khan starrer Tera Kya Hoga Johnny (2008) was also leaked on YouTube. The film was uploaded in 11 parts on the internet. Filmmaker R. Balki’s Paa (2009) was also available online on the day of its release. Sunny Deol-starrer Mohalla Assi (2015) had a stay order on the film as it had abusive language and the film was leaked online.

Filmmaker Ketan Mehta, says, “This happened with me too...This is a great disaster and someone needs to be held responsible for this. If it’s the CBFC, then they should be held responsible. Someone needs to be penalised for this.”

Calling this a “sad situation”, filmmaker Hansal Mehta says, “It’s shocking what has happened. If this has come from the CBFC, then it’s very sad. There are some people who continue to watch films on torrents even if the film has not been leaked and this problem needs to be tackled.”

Read: Udta Punjab: FIR filed with cyber police after film is leaked online

Ad-filmmaker Prahlad Kakkar added, “It’s very sad that something like this has happened. This destroys the capacity of the film to be enjoyed and spoils the chance of the producer, who has struggled so much with this film, to make some money out of it. People should refuse to see it online.”

Members of the film fraternity feel that if CBFC is behind the leak of the film, then the board must be penalised.

However, trade analyst Atul Mohan feels that the CBFC is not responsible for this. “The CBFC is a very responsible body. It’s not practically possible for them to leak the copy. All films are given to the CBFC 15-20 days before their release and they are very careful with these copies. Just because it says censor copy, does not mean that they are responsible. Maybe it’s come out from where the technical work of the film is getting done, or maybe someone who has had a dispute with the makers, has leaked the film,” he says.

A lot of Twitter users, too, wrote that they would watch the film in theatres . @ThatSRKian wrote, “Don’t worry we will watch #UdtaPunjab only in theatres coz Cinema looks Cinema only in theatres. We’ll not waste ur hard work.” @MansiKapoor07 wrote, “WATCH #UDTAPUNJAB IN THEATRES DNT SUPPORT PIRACY.”

Censor Board take

A source from the censor board says, “We were shown the film in the DCP format at a preview theatre. To even view the film at the time, a code was needed from the producer. The censor board can just view the film and cannot make copies. The code is removed after the preview so the producer brings the DCP and takes it away immediately after screening .The copy which has been leaked is this version, which the board never had.The board got the final version of the film at 6.30pm on Wednesday. The movie was leaked before the board got any physical copy from the producers.”

Pandemonium at censor office once again

There was utter chaos at the CBFC office in Mumbai on Wednesday when the producers of Udta Punjab arrived late in the afternoon to get their censor certificate with their lawyer in tow. Apparently the honourable High Court had instructed the CBFC to pass the film by 4 pm on Wednesday. However there was an irregularity in the procedure and a huge argument ensued between the Udta Punjab producers and the CBFC with the former again moving to the High Court for redress of their grievance.

Says a source closely linked to the development, “The CBFC was ready to issue a certificate to the producers by 4 pm . But then it was discovered that the producers had failed to provide a detail mandatory to the issuing of censor certificate.The producers had failed to provide the exact length of the film. In the absence of this detail it was impossible to issue the certificate.”

Apparently a huge argument broke out. “The Udta Punjab producers had come to the censor office with their legal counsel. They decided to go back to the honourable High Court for a solution to the problem.”

Apparently the honorable High Court instructed the producers to submit the information on the exact footage and also firmly advised the CBFC to issue the censor certificate to the producers of Udta Punjab without any further delay.

“The censor certificate was finally issued at around 6 pm on Wednesday,thereby ending the long legal battle between the CBFC and the makers of Udta Punjab,” says the source.

- by Subhash K Jha

Earlier, filmmaker R. Balki’s Paa also got leaked online on the day of release.

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