In what appears to be the first such jolt for a Khan flick in the history of Bollywood’s Internet leaks, Salman Khan’s Jai Ho — the entire 2hr 17 min movie — has found its way online within just days of its theatrical release.
A pirated print of the film, which was released on January 24 this year, was uploaded on YouTube by a Dubai-based user on January 28. The video had 1,08,151 views till the time it was taken off by the video-sharing site on Saturday night. Surprisingly, a better print of the film was put up on Sunday morning.
The pirated versions spread like wildfire throughout the weekend, giving rise to buzz that this may be one of the reasons behind the film’s average business despite Sallu’s huge fan following.
Salman’s publicist seemed distressed and refused to comment, and sources say that the makers, too, are disturbed and believe this could be a reason for the film’s under-performance at the box office.
Trade expert Atul Mohan agrees. "If the pirated print of Jai Ho reached over 1 lakh views online, the film must have lost approximately `10-12 crore within four days," he says.
While YouTube officials remained unavailable for comment, theatre owners are upset. "I only hope someone has the good sense to take it off," said a manager of a leading multiplex, wishing not to be named. Other Bollywood films in the past have also found their way on YouTube eventually, but this seems to be the quickest such pirated leak so far. Film pundits feel this must act like a trigger for Bollywood, especially big banners, to take strong action.
"Piracy should be fought back by the industry and the government. These days, a movie releases worldwide and it is difficult to keep a track from where an incident of piracy can occur. The video should be removed instantly, as crores are at stake," says trade analyst Taran Adarsh.
Ironically, this comes at a time when other small-budget films, such as Abhay Deol’s latest, are using free online viewing as a marketing strategy in countries where their films won’t see a theatrical release.
Also leaked in the past...
This is not the first time that piracy has taken the YouTube route. Illegal prints of a number of popular films have been uploaded on the site within weeks of their release.
Besharam, which was released on October 2 last year, was uploaded on the site on October 8. Krrish 3, last year’s big budget hit, was uploaded within three weeks of its release (November 1).
Grand Masti, last year’s 100 crore raunch fest, is another film in the online piracy list. However, Eros Entertainment, the producers of the film, recently removed it from YouTube, citing copyright claims.