Abhishek Krishnan



Let's not repeat the Veeram and Biriyani story, Veeram, Biriyani


I am sure we all have great imagination powers. So, let me start this article with a conceivable scenario.

You throw in a lot of money on something you are really passionate about and work your heart out to bring it out of the mill. You are proud of the product you have whittled out and wish to exhibit your creation to the world, of course hoping to earn back what you had invested.

But suddenly, one full moon night, you realize that some *I-wish-I-could-swear* has acquired your content illegally and is making it available for people either for a meager amount or absolutely free. What would you do?

Well, that is precisely the glitch that the film industry has been facing over the years, and with the technological advancement being active partners of crime, the shameless culprits find it easy to cover their faces not bothering too much of their exposed indignity. I wouldn’t put all the blame on the ‘movie pirates’ though. It is basic human tendency to crash land on the floor and get our hands on any freebee ranging from pearl to poison, completely oblivious of the fact that we have broken our noses in the process. The computer friendly people rely on torrents to add the freebees onto their cart while the others just pick it up from Burma bazaar or any bazaar for that matter for a very low price.

Apart from that we’ve also got some really interesting creative personalities around. When the big names in the film fraternity slog it out spending huge chunks of time, money and sweat to can a flick, these interesting people passionately film their movies in less than three hours, just by paying theater operators a crisp hundred rupee tip.

Piracy is a serious issue. Yes, I am very serious. I iterate this point because the new media has made piracy look so normal that people actually think that it is all cool to have a pirated copy of a creative content. But, I would say it is as cheap as lapping up the sweat of someone else just because you are fond of the taste.

There has been a plethora of depressing events that have been piling up on the unsolved cases in the piracy file. The never ending list of torrent sites and local vendors calling out for takers amid hundreds of bystanders simply make it look like theft in broad daylight. 

This reminds me of an incident where Sathish Swaminathan, the actor who plays a thief in Moodar Koodam, stumbled upon a local DVD vendor who tried to sell him a copy of his own movie (obviously unaware of who he was).

I was walking down Burma bazaar when I bumped into this hawker who was selling the pirated DVD of Moodar Koodam. He asked me if I wanted one. I took the copy from him and asked him to take a close look at the man who held the gun in the picture. He realized it was me, but he did not panic. Instead he told me that Moodar Koodam was the fastest moving DVD over the recent times.

I really did not know if I was to be worried of the fact that the movie was out of theaters because of the illegal sale or to be happy that people were interested in watching my movie.

This is a real sad state – especially for debut film makers like Naveen (Moodar Koodam) whose movie has been accepted by the audience but he still might have to go through all the hardship again to bring his second movie to light, just because the ignoble DVD sales might have affected the box office.

It is not only the movies that fall prey to piracy. Even music albums do - the leak out of the Biriyani and Veeram audio tracks being a couple of latest examples. The audio market has crashed because of the erroneous social service rendered by these people. I happened to speak to Santhosh, the head of Think Music a few weeks ago and I asked him how the audio sales are being affected as a result of piracy.

CD sales have been affected a great deal. We are hardly able to sell a few thousand copies as very few people actually come down to the stores to pick up original copies. But, we at Think Music make it a point to make a stipulated number of copies whatsoever, as a token of respect for the music directors.

I also asked him if we had any chances of curbing piracy for which he said that internet and technology have grown above our heads.

It is so difficult to track down these people. Every person is turning out to be tech savvy. However, by having our songs available in streaming sites like YouTube we can recover some of the money through the advertisements.”

I also noticed director Cheran speak in a recent gathering that he was going to make his upcoming movie, JK Enum Nanbanin Vazhkai available on television (DTH) and the internet on the day of release – another attempt to lessen piracy.

However, there is absolutely no point in just a few people trying to hold back piracy when the majority of us don’t bother much about it. We’ll have to work together on this. It is simple. Wherever there is demand, there is supply.

Let’s be stricter, cut down the demand and say NO to piracy. I repeat. Piracy is a serious issue – in fact a crime. Let’s not turn out to be criminals.

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