Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘distributors

By Subhash K. Jha, December 26, 2009 – 08:47 IST

Prakash Jha It seems there is more to Prakash Jha’s claim that Vidhu Vinod Chopra removed the trailer of Jha’s Raajneeti than meets the eye.

While Prakash claims Vidhu Vinod felt threatened by and insecure enough about the trailer of Raajneeti to have it removed from 3 Idiots, the Chairman of Reliance Big Pictures (who are the distributors of 3 Idiots) Amit Khanna, says they had never committed to Jha to show the trailer. “Whom in our company has Prakash Jha spoken to about the Raajneeti trailer going into the prints of 3 Idiots? He hasn’t spoken to me. And I am not aware of anyone at Reliance whom he has spoken to. How can there be any commitment on the screening of a trailer? It all depends on the paid advertisements that individual theatres have. We certainly made no such commitment to Prakash Jha.”

Adds Khanna, “We’ve released 3 Idiots with a record number of prints, 2000 in all. In fact December has been a very fruitful month for us at Reliance Big Pictures, first Paa and now 3 Idiots. Just goes to prove, quality products do have a strong market.”

The question is, if Reliance says it had never agreed to the screening of the Raajneeti trailer with 3 Idiots, why is Prakash Jha accusing Vidhu Vinod Chopra of feeling threatened and insecure of the response that the trailer got at some screenings of 3 Idiots?

Jha maintains his trailer was a victim of Chopra’s insecurities. Jha, who was recording the background music for his film in the US, is left wondering where the trailer could be fastened now.

Speaking from London, Prakash Jha says, “I suppose my trailer would be released independently in theatres, like any other trailer. In any case this was a 90-second teaser and not a full-fledged trailer.”

Prakash completely blames Vinod Chopra for the fiasco. “He’s very unpredictable. When we spoke about the trailer, he sent me a sweet message about it. Then just days before the release of 3 Idiots, my trailer had been pulled out. Apparently, at the previews of 3 Idiots people just couldn’t stop talking about the Raajneeti trailer after it was screen during interval.”

But the trailer, claims Jha, is very much part of the prints of 3 Idiots gone abroad.

“The prints had already left by the time Vinod Chopra decided to take my trailer out,” explains Prakash. “I don’t know why he was so insecure about my trailer since 3 Idiots carries such strong advance reports. I guess my Raajneeti is the biggest multi-starrer in recent times. We do have Ajay Devgn, Arjun Rampal, Nana Patekar, Naseeruddin Shah and Manoj Bajpai. And we have the winning pair Ranbir and Katrina. I guess I’m lucky.”

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

IT’S TIME TO REJOICE!

Although 2009 is considered as a black year for Bollywood, the last 3 ½ months have proved to be profitable not only for producers, distributors and exhibitors but also for viewers. There were at least half a dozen commercially successful films like Wanted, Wake Up Sid, All The Best, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, De Dana Dan and Paa. Also, flops like Dil Bole Hadippa, What’s Your Raashee?, Do Knot Disturb, Blue, London Dreams, Tum Mile, Kurbaan etc did manage to bring audiences to theatres in its first 3 days of release. Also, we got two Hollywood blockbusters, 2012 and Avatar. And tomorrow’s release 3 Idiots is expected to be the biggest hit of 2009. This Aamir Khan flick is been given one of the widest releases. If all turns out to be well, 3 Idiots may become the biggest blockbuster ever, breaking even Ghajini’s record (which at present is the biggest Bollywood hit).

People are coming to theatres. So many movies are running successfully. Unfortunately, no is celebrating it and no trade analyst is coming forward to discuss about it. Ironically, during bad times, every producers, distributor and trade pundits will come forward and state as to ‘how our industry is going through a crisis’. Somehow, we have become more negative in our approach. We love to live in bad times! Come on guys, pop the champagne and enjoy the good time!

TICKET RATES INCREASED FOR 3 IDIOTS


Watching 3 Idiots shall turn out to be an expensive affair. Knowing that people are going to come for sure to watch this Aamir Khan flick, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and the distributors of the film have urged multiplexes and single screens across the country to increase the ticket rates for 3 Idiots. Even morning shows which had a meager price of Rs 60 or 80 is now sold for 160 or 180 and even 200 bucks. A prominent multiplex in South Mumbai (Inox, Nariman Point) takes away the cake by charging Rs 290 for the 11:30 am show! And for the evening and night shows, the least said, the better!

Surprisingly, hardly any Bollywood intellectuals have spoken against this unfair practice. All of them are concerned only with the problem of piracy. Why? Because it concerns them-they face huge losses because of pirated DVDs. And they don’t need to care for the inflated ticket prices since they can either afford it or they get to see films free of cost in preview screenings!

But all of them have failed to see the point that one of the biggest reasons for piracy is the expensive ticket rates. Reducing the ticket prices will automatically reduce piracy to a certain extent. But instead of applying this idea, ticket rates are increasing, thus giving a boost to piracy. Producers and distributors are only concerned with extracting maximum profits. And when viewers shun theatres due to high prices, they will again come up with ‘industry going through crisis’ stuff when the fact is that they only created the situation in the first place! Very very sad!

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/chfdltslp/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk80

Aamir Khan, who at 44 plays a 22-year-old collegian, says in his mind he is stuck at 18!

MARK MANUEL Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 22, 2009)

Aamir Khan, as you know, has gone into hiding to promote his new film that releases this Friday. In disguise, to people’s surprise, he has popped up in different parts of the country over the past week: at Varanasi, as a Banarasi babu; outside Sourav Ganguly’s house in Kolkata as a cricket fan; in an Ahmedabad school, defying Narendra Modi’s fatwa; at the Chanderi village in Madhya Pradesh; then a Punjabi wedding in Faridkot; and, yesterday in Chennai. How this is helping the film, I don’t know; but I’m sure Aamir does, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns to Mumbai as Santa Claus on Christmas Day. He is hoping the festival will prove as successful for him as it did last year when he released Ghajini, and in 2007 — for Taare Zameen Par. Just before he went underground, Aamir told me over a quiet cup of tea at his Pali Hill home: “Christmas is a coincidence, but I’m hoping it will be third time lucky. I also believe for a film made well, any time is a good time to release it, otherwise no matter how you plan it…”
He has no doubts that this film has been made well. It’s been produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and directed by Raju Hirani. And, acting opposite him for the first time in his 20-year-career is Kareena Kapoor. Of his gorgeous co-star, Aamir said enthusiastically, “She’s outstanding, a great and
instinctive actress, extremely committed, a team player, we get along well, and she’s good looking… what more to ask for?” I agreed. The vibe between the two actors is exciting, and they look good together, the age difference between them notwithstanding. In the film, he plays a 22-year-old collegian. “That,” he told me, “was the biggest challenge for me as an actor at 44. I’m asked often if I feel my age. No, I really don’t. All of us are stuck in our heads at a particular age. And that age depends on your personality. I’m stuck at 18. And, I’ll be 18 till I die!”
He got into this film straight from Ghajini. Which meant, he had to shed that eight-pack streetfighter’s body painstakingly built up over 13 months for one raw scene of action. “It was heartbreaking,” Aamir revealed. “I didn’t want to lose it. But I had to look boyish. I had to stop training, get onto a careful and strict diet, and I began playing badminton… for three-four hours. Catch a 44-year-old doing that!” But he did it, because this is the same Aamir Khan who has always used his body as a tool in his films. “The way I look is important,” he admitted, “but for any character, it begins with how you feel in your head. What makes the character tick? You get into the mind of the character. From that flows how the body will look. My character in the new film is a free-spirited kind of guy, unusual in his thinking, and with a childlike curiosity about life and things around him.” He really didn’t want to play this role. “Get someone who’s 22,” Aamir advised Raju Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra when they approached him. They told Aamir, “In real life, you are the character of this film, you don’t follow the path, you’re non-conformist, you do what your heart tells you. As for looking young – if you could build yourself up to look huge in Ghajini, now work on becoming small. Go for it.” And Aamir did. He said of Raju, “His big strength is that his films are not only entertaining, but also enriching. Like Munnabhai! You go home taking something valuable from the film.” And as for Vinod, who is rumoured in Bollywood to be arrogant and bold, Aamir said, “He is how he is, but he understands his director and creative team and supports them, and he has a passion for cinema. Being a director himself, Vinod is creative and he gives his films a great release. I look for that quality in a producer… whether he is able to give the film a good platform after I’ve worked so hard on it.” That Aamir Khan always does, whether he’s making the film for himself or some other producer. And he enjoys making one film at a time, which he will release on Christmas Day! “I could do more, in my lifetime I could do 500 films, but when I’m doing a film all my energies are into it. At that point, I don’t enjoy taking on anything else. I enjoy the space I am in. I’m not a factory or a huge production system. I’m… kya bolta hai… a handloom product. A one-machine-one person-one shirt kind of actor. I’m not a largescale outfit producing a million shirts. Numbers don’t excite me and are not my strength. I enjoy marketing a film. But towards the audience. My connect is with the audience. I enjoy dealing with the audience, not with exhibitors, distributors.” And that is what he is probably doing somewhere in the country right now, maybe in disguise! (Contributed by Meena Iyer, Aakansha Naval Shete)

MOVIE TALK: Kareena Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor and (inset) Boney Kapoor.
If Boney Kapoor’s plans and wishes come true…

MEENA IYER Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; December 12, 2009)

Call it a cruel twist of fate. Call it a publicity gimmick. Call it what you will. But listen to this. Producer Boney Kapoor has a plan. He is contemplating the release of his Kareena Kapoor-Shahid Kapoor film Milenge Milenge on Valentine’s Day next year. According to a trade source who has been consulting with Boney on the release plans, “Boney, his director Satish Kaushik and other top executives clearly feel that no date is more suited to this film than Valentine’s. Even some distributors are in agreement.”

Meanwhile, Shahid and Kareena have clearly moved on. It is not even known whether they will come together for the promotion of Milenge Milenge or whether they will promote it individually. But it is true, on Valentine’s Day youngsters flock to see a love story and Milenge Milenge is reportedly a beautiful screen love story.
There is more. Trade circles believe that Jab We Met worked because Shahid and Kareena had split before the actual release of the film. “There is more magic to a screen couple that is not romantically involved in real life,” says the source. “So Milenge Milenge stands a good chance.” Boney confirmed he is releasing his film in February. “I’m hoping for a mid-Feb release,” said the jovial filmmaker. “However, I’m not involved in all these release strategies that people are talking about. I have a team working on the release pattern. If it coincides with Valentine’s Day, then so be it.” He’s also hoping that Kareena and Shahid being professional actors, will do their best to honour whatever commitment is expected of them. May St. Valentine make his wish come true for him.

RADIO v/s PAA

This weekend will see the release of two diverse films, Paa and Radio. The best thing about both films is its cost-both films are made at a reasonable cost and should not find it difficult to recover it. My take on these films:

PAA:
Undoubtedly, Paa will be the first choice of moviegoers. Directed by Balki (Cheeni Kum) and music composed by Illaiyaraja, Paa has aroused a lot of curiosity. By now, it’s a very common knowledge that Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of a 12 year old suffering from progeria in the film. He looks unique and completely unrecognizable in his new look. Big B has even altered his voice to suit his 12 year old character and it rocks completely. He has even sung the title song of the film in that changed voice which is a treat to hear! To hear Auro (name of BigB in Paa) speak click here.

Besides the chance to see Amitabh in a never before seen avatar, the other USP of the film is Abhishek Bachchan playing Amitabh’s father! The film also stars Vidya Balan and Paresh Rawal as Auro’s mother and grandfather respectively. The film is being promoted innovatively. 2 days back, Amitabh Bachchan and Vidya Balan were on Radio Mirchi FM and spoke as the characters of the film. Listeners were asking questions to Auro (i.e. Amitabh) about his life and he answered wonderfully! It was just brilliant!

Without a shred of doubt, the film will be lauded with appreciation, especially for the performance of Amitabh, Abhishek and Vidya. However, the film has also got some negative reactions from a section of audiences who feel that Big B’s look is horrible and they can’t bear watching him as ‘an ugly child’ for 2 ½ hours. Also, the film should get a good response to sustain in theatres. And if that happens, then there would be no stopping for this film! In fact, I am expecting a Taare Zameen Par-type craze for Paa. Let’s hope for the best!

RADIO:
In an interview, 2 days back to Bollywood Hungama, Himesh Reshammiya shared how he wanted his previous disastrous film, Karzzzz to release on another date. That’s because the producers planned its release on October 17, 2008. 17 equals to 8 (1+7=8) which is Himesh’s unlucky number. But the producers didn’t listen to him and released it on 17th. And then Karzzzz flopped in spite of adding 3 extra ‘z’ in the title for ‘numerlogical reasons’. I really laughed reading this part. Is Himesh trying to say that Karzzzz would have succeeded if it had released on another date? The film was a disaster in all respects and would have flopped even if it had released on some other date or if 100 more ‘z’ was added in the title! Besides having a faulty script and direction, it had a very high cost (reported to be around Rs 40 crores). It was obvious that it would have been impossible to recover this amount. And as expected, the film barely recovered about half of its cost!

But Radio, that releases today, is a safer bet. The film is made at a reasonable cost-6 crores. The film has already recovered this amount from other sources. But to get the prestige of being hailed as a hit, the film’s theatrical collections should exceed 6 crores. It’s difficult to say whether this can happen as Radio has a terrific competition in the form of Paa. Also, the film is an urban love story and is targeted at the multiplex junta, who don’t ‘worship’ Himesh like the masses do! So as of now, nothing can be said about the fate of Radio.

But Himesh is confident because the film is releasing on Thursday 3rd as 3 is his lucky number! He has more faith in numbers than the script of the film. Last time, when Karzzzz bombed inspite of all numerological precautions, he blamed the producer and the wrong release date. Let’s see who he will blame this time, in case Radio flops! But I hope it works and all the best to its entire team!

WHICH FILM ARE YOU MOST INTERESTED IN? DO LET ME KNOW!
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E-PIRATES MOURN AT MININOVA’S CLEAN UP ACT

E-pirates are a disgruntled lot ever since Mininova went on a Clean-up act. Mininova is the most popular website when it comes to downloading movies, songs, games and other stuff. Every new film used to be available on the site a day after the release or at times, on the day itself. Further, all downloads were safe and didn’t carry any virus. Hence, it was the most preferable website for millions of net users.

Needless to mention, downloading stuff on Mininova were illegal and last week after they lost a civil dispute, the website announced that it’ll share only those movies that are uploaded through Content Distribution Service. Thus, they deleted all illegal stuff which was there in their database. This has proved as a setback for all those who never used to venture in theatres but instead used to watch films on their PC through Mininova.

It is difficult to say whether this step will prove beneficial for our producers and distributors. No one can can say for sure whether these e-pirates would start frequenting cineplexes to watch movies. There were many factors why these people chose Mininova instead of theatres and these factors still exist, the biggest one being the inflated ticket prices. No effort has been done to slash ticket rates and in fact, the prices are increasing. Also, there are many other websites like Mininova (though not safe) from where one can still download films! So unfortunately, piracy will continue to thrive even in the absence of Mininova.

This post first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/diary/ccbhuqsuo/Fenils-Bollywood-Talk77

Sharmila Ganesan-Ram | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; December 2, 2009)

Mumbai: Kurbaan, typed the eager 26-year-old in the search bar of his favourite website. ‘No results found,’ blinked the screen. Santosh Kannan (name changed), who usually reserves his weekends to watch downloaded movies, was aghast. Never before in the history of this techie’s four-year-old affair with the site Mininova had the search for a new movie yielded zilch results. The explanation, that arrived in tiny font on the site’s homepage, soon made Kannan feel like “I had just lost a friend.’’

Mininova, the largest Torrent (a popular file-sharing software) site offering movie and music downloads and the lifeline of numerous online movie pirates like Kannan, announced last week that it will now only share movies that have been uploaded through its content distribution service. This means that all its illicit Torrent movies have been deleted and, in turn, piracy is now impossible on the site. The portal’s founders took the decision after they lost a civil dispute and were ordered to remove all infringing torrents from the site.

This may be reason for distributors to smile as the move is a big blow to online piracy. But for its numerous patrons like Mulund-based Kannan, who banked on the site for its promise of convenient movie downloads, it marks the end of good times. The dejected Kannan even posted a message on Facebook saying, ‘RIP Mininova’. “I had bookmarked this site as one of my favourites. It was safe as, unlike other Torrent sites, Mininova did not contain porn uploads,’’ says Kannan who must have downloaded about 60 to 80 GBs of content, courtesy Mininova so far.

The site was founded in early 2005 by five Dutch students as a hobby project, but soon, it spiralled into a successful business generating millions of dollars. For years, it faced numerous complaints from copyright holders, who saw their intellectual property being shared by users of the site. Earlier this year, the Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN decided to take Mininova to court, demanding that the operators proactively filter uploads pointing to copyrighted material.

Final year science student Aditya Kumar, who has set ‘Goodbye Mininova’ as his chat status, says he saw this coming. “A few months ago Mininova had started moderating the Torrent uploads, which was just a sign that they would soon go legal.’’ Though he admits that “piracy is wrong’’, he can’t help but praise the “good quality prints, great download speed and accurate reviews’’ that characterised the website. “It was incredibly well-organized, and easy to navigate. It didn’t require a complex invite procedure to sign and log in,’’ he recalls.

Of course, the site is not totally dead. But “it’s unlikely anyone will use Mininova for legal stuff,’’ predicts Kumar.

By Joginder Tuteja, December 1, 2009 – 11:21 IST

De Dana Dan The inevitable has happened. Owing to popular demand, ‘Gale Lag Ja‘ – the rain song and dance number featuring the lead pair of Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif – has been added to the film’s narrative.

Though this much hyped song had created quite some buzz en route to the release of De Dana Dan, it was chopped off from the final copy of the print since it was adding to the film’s length. However, the makers of De Dana Dan were open to the idea of incorporating the song as an added bonus if audiences demanded so and the film worked at the box office. With weekend collections being quite strong worldwide, the final call was taken around bringing back the song in the narrative.

Confirms Ratan Jain, producer of De Dana Dan, “We were clear that the song would be added only if the film did well at the box office. There was no point doing that if (God forbid) people wouldn’t have been going into theatres. Now that the weekend collections are out, we know that there would be repeat audiences for the film. For them, it would be another incentive to watch the film again while for the first timers, it’s an added bonus.”

Since the film’s running length is a little less than 3 hours already, would the incorporation of song be of any further impact?

“No”, says Jain, “The length of De Dana Dan is still the same. To compensate for those 4-5 minutes of the added song, we have edited an equal duration of a few scenes from the film.”

Gale Lag Ja‘ would now appear in the first half of the film at the point when Akshay calls Katrina to the hotel in order to share the kidnapping plan and then run away with the ransom amount.

Meanwhile, Ratan Jain is ecstatic with the kind of collections that the film is showing with every passing day.

“Saturday and Sunday were far better than Friday while Monday was more or less similar to Friday, which is superb”, he says, “Normally, films fall quite rapidly on Monday but we have stayed on very stable grounds. The collections are superb overseas as well, whether in UK, Gulf or elsewhere. In India, we have seen Rs. 23 crores coming in just from the weekend which is superb. All our distributors are very happy and we are all set for a bountiful first week.”

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

By Taran Adarsh, October 2, 2009 – 11:02 IST

Recall those years when partying hard was the only agenda on your list. Recall those years when staying awake at nights, chatting away with friends became a habit. Recall those years when bunking college and sneaking into movie halls was more exciting than books. Recall those years when you were completely clueless and aimless about the vocation you wanted to pursue once you graduated… That indecisive phase when you were hesitant to take that first big step in life can never be erased from your memory.

WAKE UP SID, directed by debutante Ayan Mukerji, is like revisiting those years that lay at some remote corner of your mind, after you moved on in life.

Actually, WAKE UP SID is a slice of life film. It’s not merely real in concept, but has also been told most realistically, so much so that you can’t help but draw parallels with your life or with someone you know. But what really makes WAKE UP SID most believable is Ranbir Kapoor, who’s mastered the craft at such a young age.

BY BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Verdict? WAKE UP SID mirrors those years with flourish. This one’s a simple story that strikes a chord instantly. Strongly recommended!

WAKE UP SID tells the story of Siddharth aka Sid [Ranbir Kapoor], a lazy, unmotivated slacker from Mumbai whose life undergoes a series of changes after taking his final year college exams. Sid’s world is breezy, carefree and without any true responsibilities.

Sid thrives around his two best friends, Rishi [Namit Das] and Laxmi [Shikha Talsania], very rarely communicates with his mother Sarita [Supriya Pathak] and takes his father Ram Mehra [Anupam Kher] and all his hard-earned wealth for granted. Despite all these traits, Sid is an honest boy; sweet, funny and above all, a good friend.

Aisha Bannerjee [Konkona Sen Sharma], an aspiring writer from Kolkata, learns this soon enough when her path crosses with Sid’s on her first day in Mumbai. Ambitious, well-read and driven, Aisha has come to Mumbai to realize her dreams as a writer. Despite their contrasting personalities, Sid becomes Aisha’s first friend in the city.

As Aisha sets up her life in Mumbai, with the help of Sid and his gang, Sid allows for time to fly by over long drives, parties that stretch well into dawn, and endless hours doing absolutely nothing. But a series of circumstances and events compel him to take stock of his life and take a hard look at himself.

Let’s not compare WAKE UP SID with anything you’ve watched before. Not DIL CHAHTA HAI. Not LAKSHYA either. Debutante director Ayan Mukerji narrates a story that you can relate to instantly and treats it with utmost care. A few moments linger in your memory and evoke bitter-sweet memories.

// <![CDATA[//

The first hour, right till the intermission, sweeps you off your feet. You get drawn into Sid's world instantaneously; you react to everything he does. But the post-interval portions slackens, courtesy the writing. The Rahul Khanna track, for instance, looks half-baked. Also, the story stagnates after a point and hence, the pacing gets very slow. It's only towards the finale that things perk up. Ideally, the film could've done with some trimming in this hour.

Ayan Mukerji packs in a solid punch in most parts of the film. The emotional moments especially gets you all moist-eyed. The humour too is well integrated in the sequences. Even the confrontation between the father and son is superb. Prior to that Konkona's birthday sequence is amongst the finest sequences of the film. Music [Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy] is melodious. Anil Mehta’s cinematography is top notch. Niranjan Iyengar’s dialogues are just right.

There’s no denying that Ranbir Kapoor is a supremely talented actor, but in WAKE UP SID, he proves that he’s amongst the best in the business today. No one could’ve portrayed Sid as effectively as Ranbir has enacted, that’s for sure. This is an award-worthy performance.

Konkona is natural to the core and the best part is, she’s so effortless. Here’s another winning performance from this incredible performer. Anupam Kher is wonderful. Ditto for Supriya Pathak. Both shine in their respective parts. Namit Das and Shikha Talsania are perfect. Rahul Khanna doesn’t get any scope.

On the whole, WAKE UP SID is a well-made film that should strike a chord with the youth mainly. A metro-centric film, the film should attract its target audience and should also prove to be the first choice of the elite/urban audience this Friday. Its distributors [UTV] have very rightly released the film at plexes of metros and mini-metros [instead of flooding the market with physical and digital prints], which in turn should only make this small film talked-about in days to come. Thumbs Up!

Bharati Dubey | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; October 2, 2009)

Mumbai: Film producers have called for a meeting with processing laboratories to discuss ways of “foolproof security’’ for film prints when they are with the laboratories. The producers also plan to introduce a fresh clause, demanding that the labs take full responsibility of the prints as long as they are with them. The labs, predictably, have rejected the idea.

The move comes in the wake of a recent incident in which processing lab and distributors’ staff were found involved in a piracy racket.

Producer Mukesh Bhatt, head of the anti-piracy cell of the film industry, told TOI, “We want the film and digital labs to give us an undertaking about keeping our property safe. They will now have to
take complete responsibility. We are going to talk about this at the next meeting and will stop working with labs that don’t agree with us. A film is like a bank for us in which we deposit our money.’’

UTV CEO and What’s Your Rashee? producer Sidharth Roy Kapur said, “The earlier contracts never pinned responsibility on labs for theft or misappropriation of prints. But now, we want them to sign an undertaking and take responsibility. A lab should be like a safe deposit vault in a bank. We will not work with those who refuse to sign the new deal.’’

The producers are firm on inserting this clause but laboratories do not seem to be eager. Adlabs Ltd CEO Anil Arjun said, “I am not aware of it and will need to discuss it with the producers.’’ He added that the incident regarding What’s Your Rashee? was not attributable to Adlabs. “Adlabs has always taken steps to curb piracy. Adlabs Film Processing Lab, Digital Lab, Digital Cinema Mastering facility and Adlabs’ preview theatre are the only facilities in India to be accredited by London-based trade body Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).’’

By Deeptiman Tiwary and Abhijit Sathe (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 23, 2009)

Rakesh Maria

Some of the top distributors in Bollywood may be aiding and abetting film piracy. This fact came to light after Mumbai Crime Branch busted a major racket involving employees of two major post-production companies and some pirates who have in the past six months pirated 11 films even before they were released.

The pirates have revealed the names of some distributors who gave them information on ready-to-be-released films and even helped procure copies of masterprints.

The latest masterprint that fell into their hands was of Ashutosh Gowariker’s What’s Your Rashee?, slated to be released on Friday.

The Crime Branch has arrested six people, including a business development manager from Adlabs Films and an associate vice president from UFO Moviez, in connection with the case. It has also found that the entire racket is being run from Karachi in Pakistan.

A Crime Branch officer said, “The accused have revealed the names of some distributors who were helping them with information on where the films were being processed  and who were the people who could be contacted for a masterprint. They also facilitated these liaisons.”

Crime Branch chief Rakesh Maria said, “There are some people from inside the industry, but we are still verifying their exact role and involvement. It would be premature to reveal their names as of now.”

HOW THE CASE WAS CRACKED

What’s your Rashee?

The Crime Branch was investigating a piracy racket involving copies of Dil Bole Hadippa! when it stumbled upon information that the masterprint of What’s Your Rashee? was out and would be delivered to a man in Kherwadi.

A Crime Branch team under Senior PI Ansar Peerzade and API Naik laid a trap on Sunday morning and arrested three people, Afsar Hyder Hussain alias Ashraf, 26, Firoz Irfan Khan alias Salim, 23, and Tanzim Ali Sayed, 26, and recovered pirated CDs of What’s Your Rashee? and Dil Bole Hadippa!.

During interrogation they told police that they had got the copy of the film’s masterprint from business development manager with Adlabs, Durgadas Bhakta, and associate vice president (operations and digital mastering) with UFO Moviez, Rajesh Chaudhary for Rs 2 lakh.

Following this, Crime Branch arrested the two along with Bhakta’s associate Ajay Pal, 27.

While Adlabs has processed What’s Your Rashee? UFO was entrusted with the job of digitising the film and releasing it in multiplexes by uplinking it to the satellite. It was at UFO that Chaudhary made a copy of the film on his laptop and wrote it on a DVD.

Both Bhakta and Chaudhary got Rs 1 lakh each for the job.

THE KARACHI ANGLE

The pirates also disclosed that they would send a print to one Asif in Karachi who would further distribute them to various countries including Bangladesh, France, Germany, Netherlands and Indonesia.

INDUSTRY REACTS

An official spokesperson from Adlabs said, “Our security measures makes us one of the most protected and safe environments for motion picture handling. The incident regarding What’s Your Rashee? is not attributable to us in any manner.”

Siddarth Roy Kapoor of UTV said, “We are currently in the process of determining the exact events that have transpired, but have been assured by the authorities that the print was recovered before any damage was done. On a lighter note, we are very encouraged at the huge demand for What’s Your Rashee? amongst the pirates, but would urge them to wait three days to watch the film in all its glory on the silver screen.”



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