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Every Kamal movie release is preceded with a controversy. It is either a religious issue, a caste uproar or a regional disparity. So it is not surprising that Vishwaroopam is wired in the DTH (Direct-To-Home)debacle. But is it a cause for worry?

Kamal Hassan neatly lays out his plan for releasing Vishwaroopam on the DTH platform in his Maiam soundcloud podcast. He claims that the DTH release is targeted at the niche crowd who want to unwind at the comforts of their home while watching a movie. This is not for the common man. DTH is available to only 3% of the movie going population and the release might target nearly half of that. He states that it is a legitimate and technologically plausible move aimed at generating revenue for the movie makers of Vishwaroopam. So what is the cause of worry?

The Theater owners are in a state of panic over their possible loss of audience if the movie releases on demand right into the television screens of homes. To begin with, not everybody can view the DTH release. There is a whooping Rs.1000 fee for this exclusive show and due to the technique of DTH set boxes, it cannot be recorded. So this should calm the nerves of distributors. But what about piracy? Kamal clearly explains how theater owners are hand in glove with most piracy firms so they make their moolah anyhow. DTH is a legal avenue for producers to churn out more cash for their product, so why deter this?

We are not talking about viewing one of those mega budgets, teary eyed, sinister in laws serials, we are talking about a multi crore, stellar star cast, high quality Auro audio flick. Surely the folks heading to the theater are not going to quench their thirst with a low quality theater print. If anything, the movie might attract the niche audience to the theater adding more cash to the registers. Even if an entire family pays Rs 1000 for one show at their home television, this in no amount would deteriorate the collections of the box office.

While streaming and Video on Demand is prevalent in other countries, India can take the digital revolution further by Kamal’s move. So instead of pelting stones at every different stroke taken, it would prove beneficial if there was an intelligent discussion surrounding this issue.

Surely Kamal is not here to make a quick buck. His career is proof enough of his cinematic love affair.

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