Piracy re­turns to Bol­ly­wood with live stream­ing of Padmaavat

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - City - - FRONT PAGE - Rishabh Suri ■ rishabh.suri@htlive.com

As Bol­ly­wood has evolved, so have film pi­rates. The prac­tice of leak­ing a film and strip­ping pro­duc­ers of rev­enue has found new ve­hi­cles over the decades — af­ter pi­rated DVDS, and on­line down­loads, we now have the un­for­tu­nate phe­nom­e­non of live-stream­ing. The first 80 min­utes of San­jay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat was live-streamed, from a movie theatre, through the Face­book Live video stream­ing fea­ture. The clip was later deleted, but as per the page ad­min, around 20,000 peo­ple had watched the film within the first hour; 15,000 peo­ple had shared the link; and al­most 5 lakh peo­ple had be­come a part of it.

GOOD QUAL­ITY PI­RATED PRINTS

How does one com­bat this? Rahul Dholakia, di­rec­tor of Raees — it’s the most pi­rated Bol­ly­wood film of 2017, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey — ex­claims, “Oh hell! If this is go­ing to be the way, then it’s re­ally dan­ger­ous. Sooner or later, these peo­ple [who leak films] will even get good qual­ity [of prints]. I re­mem­ber, Raees’ pi­rated print was very good. We had to pull down 175 sites on the first day!” He talks of what a let­down this is for pro­duc­ers and di­rec­tors, who spend their money and time, re­spec­tively, on mak­ing the best film they can.

Ak­shay Ku­mar’s Jolly LLB 2 and Toi­let: Ek Prem Katha also made it to the list of most pi­rated films of 2017.

The stu­dio that backed Padmaavat, which cost ₹190 crore to make, has taken some steps to curb this men­ace. It has sought a court order to act against any at­tempt to il­le­gally show the film; they’re also ask­ing view­ers to help the film. They said in a state­ment given to us: “…[We] are urg­ing view­ers and fans to show their sol­i­dar­ity [with] the film, which has faced enough chal­lenges, and not watch it on [an] il­le­gal plat­form or through unau­tho­rised means, but watch it only in the­atres.”

Trade ex­pert Atul Mo­han

Sooner or later, these peo­ple [who leak films] will even get good qual­ity [of prints]. I re­mem­ber, Raees’ pi­rated print was very good. We had to pull down 175 sites on the first day!

RAHUL DHOLAKIA, FILM

MAKER

rea­sons, “For a film like Padmaavat, you would be stupid to watch it on a fiveinch smart­phone screen or even your com­puter. It’s meant to be en­joyed on the big screen in 3D.”

PRO­DUC­ERS, THE REAL VIC­TIMS

San­jay Gupta, whose film Kaa­bil was the sec­ond most pi­rated film of 2017, feels that more than the di­rec­tor, it’s the pro­ducer who bears the bur­den of dam­ages when a film is leaked. “Piracy af­fects a pro­ducer the most. I re­mem­ber the stress Rakeshji [Roshan; film-maker] went through, as he pro­duced Kaa­bil. By the week­end, we had blocked more than 3,400 web­sites. This prob­lem is not ram­pant in the south, as the ac­tors there have their fan clubs [who keep an eye on piracy] and there’s a pro­duc­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion there. We don’t have unity here. There are four to five dif­fer­ent as­so­ci­a­tions in Bol­ly­wood.”

How­ever, rather than blam­ing so­cial me­dia, Gupta says that Padmaavat’s ex­am­ple “clearly means that the se­cu­rity at the theatre had lapsed”.

A still from Raees

A still from Jolly LLB 2

A still from Padmaavat

A still from Kaa­bil

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