Piracy – killer of creativity..

Mrs Radikaa Sharathkumar, the creative head of Radaan Media along with her husband Mr Sharathkumar  were shattered when an illegal version of the under production film “Jaggubhai” ( starring Sharathkumar ) found its way on the internet last week. A whole years hard work by the entire cast and crew was held to ransom by the buccaneer brigade of the cyber world. Mrs Radikaa immediately took the support of the state government and the police in tracking down the culprits. Mrs Radikaa was overwhelmingly supported by the entire tamil film industry who showed solidarity in fighting the culprits and vowing for legal and ethical business in the industry.

Watching movies online is the easiest thing to do for scores of cinema lovers who prefer the easy way out. But, what we tend to forget is the zeal, money , hard work and sincerity that goes into making a 150 minutes movie that gets belittled to frivolity once on the internet or by sale of illegal DVDs. Watching a pirated movie is equal to depriving a wage earner his due worth. We should not entertain ourselves in an unethical way by providing ourselves with cheap entertainment. Watching a movie in a theatre or buying a legal DVD post a movie’s release enables the industry to produce better movies with the well deserved revenues that they generate. If a movie is not capable of generating revenues at the theatre, it should be because the movie is inadequate and not because unethical versions are already doing the rounds on the net and elsewhere.Moreover, the entertainment tax that the movie makers pay is important for bettering the state’s economy. Sometimes high ticket prices act as a deterrent to gain the interest of the movie goer. It will help to keep ticket prices down to reasonable levels especially in the metros to well and truly induce the movie lover’s appetite. 

During a recent trip to Bangalore,  it was shocking to see scores of vendors selling every conceivable movie on the footpaths of certain busy areas. Obviously these vendors do not possess the audacity to survive by themselves. They have the support of the local police who they bribe a few thousand rupees to go unnoticed on a daily basis.Movies that go for awards considerations are also misused and sometimes the nexus between the black marketeers, the cast, technical teams and the entire chain involved in making, marketing and distribution of movies is questioned. We must say “NO” to piracy and we must start so by not watching illegal versions on the net or via purchase of illegal DVDs. Every time we watch an illegal movie we are as guilty as the pirates who are conspiring towards the killing of the craft. 

An interesting read from the Hindu about the ever-growing menace –

Any movie could be leaked out and pirated ahead of its release, given the number of persons involved in film production and the slack security involved in the movie-making process here. And any movie could face the fate of Jaggubhai, the Sarath Kumar-starrer, which found its way on to the Internet even before it was completed. The whole thing works on trust. This is the opinion of a cross-section of filmmakers and technologists.

From conception till the shooting is completed, everything is more or less under the control of the director and his or her team. But the moment it moves to a film laboratory – for the first set of processed negatives and one-light prints – anything could happen.

There are many who can access the rough print: from staff who take the print back and forth, technicians working on the ‘rushes,’ the camera team that grades the film, people who add sound effects, technicians who assist in dubbing and re-recording, and those in charge of the final mixing.

A breach, usually motivated by the need for money, revenge, even blackmail, is possible at any of these stages.

Actor-director Cheran said the movie-maker was at the mercy of many agencies throughout. “We give the movie for dubbing, effects, re-recoding… But we do not enter into agreements with any of these studios, holding them responsible for any problem. The Producers’ Council should take steps to make them responsible for any leaks.”

In the case of Jaggubhai, its director, K.S. Ravikumar, says he has reason to believe that the leak happened at the post-production stage. “The DV tape is not there [in the laboratory concerned],” he said, adding that he was at a loss to figure out how to plug the leaks.

Director A.R. Murugadoss said the Producers’ Council should give exemplary punishment to persons and laboratories who collude in piracy.

Senthil Kumar, director, Real Image Media Technologies, major entertainment technologists, says that systems – such as access restrictions, CCTV monitoring, inventory management to ensure that those in charge know where each piece of media is at any given point of time – need to be put in place and everyone should follow them.

“The system still cannot be foolproof. So we are developing an encrypted system for movie post-production work which should be ready for launch worldwide in April,” he said.

Mr. Senthil Kumar says there are many areas where even punishing someone would become difficult. “A poor quality version of our movie, Thiru Thiru Thuru Thuru, is available on the Net.”

Hollywood model
In Hollywood, mobile phones or other electronic accessories are not allowed at a movie preview. Such moves might help curtail piracy to an extent, some in the industry feel.

The problem with increased security is that both costs and the time taken to complete a movie would go up, informed sources point out.


10 Responses to “Piracy – killer of creativity..”

  1. Dear Sharmila,well said on pirated films.
    Sometimes the prints are’nt even good.I can never enjoy watching a pirated film neither on the internet.

    Have a good day!
    Love always…

  2. Lakshmi Jag Says:

    A good caption, creativity killer. Post production leaks, greed, audience wanting to see the movie without spending a lot of money, I guess the list goes on. There is no end for maladies of the modern society


  3. Salman Shahid Alvi Says:

    Yes Sharmila,piracy is indeed one of the major cause of losses for any producer though the movie may be a hit.And the worst part is that still this business flourishes in almost every part of the world…….that has been a selfish one as always

  4. masterpraz Says:

    Excellent piece….

    I think the way technology has grown so rapidly, rather than trying to “fight” piracy, there probably needs to be another approach, I’ve had an idea for a while which I’ll do a piece on in coming weeks, but thanks for re-jogging my memory shamz 🙂

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