Even Tamil Nadu theatres abet piracy: Producer-director Ghazali
The owner and operator of a theatre in Krishnagiri got arrested for aiding the piracy of Goli Soda 2
In a blow to the usual theory that overseas screenings are the reason for piracy, the owner and operator of a theatre called Nayanthara, located in Krishnagiri, got arrested recently for allegedly aiding the piracy of a recent Tamil film, Goli Soda 2, directed by Vijay Milton. Producer-director Ghazali, who was behind the tip-off that led to the arrest, says, “Theatre owners in the State have always suggested that piracy doesn’t occur within the state and that affected producers should supervise overseas screens. But I have shown this is not the case.” Ghazali has apparently been on the hunt for such theatres from February, when his film, Manushana Nee, got leaked on the web. “Being a small film that was only released within the State, I realised that our theatres had to be complicit. That’s when I decided to get to the bottom of this issue.” He goes on to explain how he identifies the theatres in question: "Any producer who finds a pirated version of his film online can download footage and submit the video to the digital service provider QUBE for a forensic report. This will reveal the encrypted server number of the theatre's projector. Using this, they can file a complaint to the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Cell of Police, which will in turn find the name and location of the theatre and proceed with the arrest of the criminals involved. This is usually followed by the shutting down of the theatre."
Ghazali says that this is not the first time a Tamil Nadu theatre owner has been arrested for the issue. In recent times, the piracy of films like Manushana Nee and Oru Kuppai Kadhai were found to have occurred in theatres here. He reveals that the producers of the recent releases, Tamizh Padam 2 and Mr Chandramouli, have also applied for a forensic report from QUBE, and hopes that his efforts to create awareness about piracy in the State will gain traction.
Sashikanth, producer of Tamizh Padam 2, believes that the problem can be solved only by the intervention of an organisation. “This isn’t an issue that can be handled by one individual. Intellectual property theft is dealt with very seriously abroad, but that is not the case here. Also, the process of finding out the theatre aiding the crime in India takes about 20-30 days, during which time the effective running days of the film are over. Things might become better in the future if the protocols are properly regulated."
Barath Seeni, the producer and one of the leads of Goli Soda 2, says that his prime motive of lodging a complaint was to create awareness among theatre owners and producers. "We just want the issue of piracy to come to an end. If producers start working towards a solution, it will definitely draw the attention of theatre owners. The guilty parties will stop aiding piracy and the ones who have been exploited will start working on measures to prevent the slightest possibility of a pirated copy being made inside their theatre. This will ensure that the film gets an unhindered run for at least five days." He doesn’t think banning mobile phones is the solution. "That might be counterproductive, as the audience might feel it's a violation of their privacy."