Piracy hits OTT: Mimi gets leaked days before release itself, other films suffer due to this menace online now

Updated on Jul 29, 2021 06:10 PM IST

Despite no box office factor, experts and makers share why this unethical practice affects shareholders.

Stills from Mimi and Toofan
Stills from Mimi and Toofan
ByRishabh Suri

Theatres or no theatres, piracy continues to remain rampant and impact the film industries. Almost every direct-to-OTT release so far has been leaked for free downloads online, and the latest case has taken things to the next level.

Kriti Sanon’s Mimi, originally slated for an OTT release on July 30, got leaked four days before its actual date, forcing makers to prepone their plans. Director of the film, Laxman Utekar agrees that piracy led to this.

“We came to know in the morning that it was leaked. It was Dinu’s (producer Dinesh Vijan) birthday, and then July 27 was Kriti’s birthday, so we decided that we might as well take that as an opportunity,” he tells us, adding that it was “unbelievable”.

Utkear continues, “I don’t know how to describe it, or how do we track this thing. Kuchh samajh nahi aa raha iss baare mein.”

While there are certainly no box-office implications, an OTT release is nevertheless affected by this menace. Trade expert Atul Mohan feels it has become easier for the pirates now, since they don’t have to especially go to theatres record the film.

“Earlier, it might have taken two-three days, now it’s day and date release for pirated versions. In fact, due to platforms like Telegram, you just have to search, go to the links, and start watching, you don’t even have to download. Thanks to 4G, you can stream it,” he explains, adding that what happened was Mimi was a bit extreme though.

Calling it serious, Mohan is of the opinion that since the film was leaked before the release itself, someone from the post production studio, OTT platform or the production company might be responsible.

Further revealing what impact does piracy have on a latest release is Anand Pandit. His film, The Big Bull was leaked within hours of streaming on an OTT platform.

Calling it dangerous, the producer says, “I could understand when we used to go to theatres earlier, there were leakage points. Here, generally the film goes directly from the producer to the OTT platform. I fail to understand how it can get leaked. In any case, any kind of piracy is the worst thing for the industry, I really condemn it.”

For the producer, it doesn’t have much impact, he feels. “There are no major financial things involved. But still somebody will get hit. It impacts the OTT partner. In our case, they took immediate action,” says Pandit.

Utekar elaborates on how the web space, too, gets impacted with such practices. He questions if someone is getting to see a film for free, why would they go and subscribe to an OTT platform. “It’s very harmful for the makers. Dinu is thinking about taking action. Let’s see what happens,” he reveals.

Exhibitor Akshaye Rathi says the industry and law enforcement agencies have become “too complacent” in their fight against piracy.

“In the case of theatres, the collective viewing experience is affected. But when you engage in piracy of web content, you’re consuming content through the same medium - mobiles and laptops. So, piracy has a harsher impact on streaming platforms than theatres,” Rathi shares.

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