Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘UFO Moviez

Crime Branch teams leave for Delhi and Ghaziabad in search of Jitender Kumar, a major player; two top officials of Shemaroo and Reliance Big Cinemas arrested
By Abhijit Sathe (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 25, 2009)

Director and producer of What’s your Raashee? Ashutosh Gowariker

The Bollywood piracy plot is getting more sinister. After arresting employees of major post-production and distribution firms for spiriting out DVDs of new films, Mumbai Police is now on the hunt for a major player in the racket named Jitender Kumar, who is suspected to have links with the Dawood gang.

Crime Branch sources said teams have been despatched to Delhi and Ghaziabad to arrest Kumar, a ‘bigshot from Ghaziabad’ who apparently runs a major pirated material distribution racket in north India. Officials said he also has connections with the two piracy groups now in police custody. The latest arrests are those of Kalapi Nagda, 29, head of overseas distribution of Shemaroo Pictures and Neerav Shah, 30, manager of overseas distribution of Reliance Big Cinema, on the basis of information provided by UFO Moviez associate vice-president Rajesh Chaudhary, who was arrested on Tuesday.

“Afsar Hyder Hussain alias Ashraf, who was picked up on Tuesday, is the link between Kumar and the groups in Mumbai. Though Afsar deals with Kumar to sell and distribute pirated movies, last year, Kumar tipped off the police that Afsar was carrying pirated material and got him arrested at Mumbai airport,” said a senior police officer who did not wish to be named.

Sources said Kumar is involved in distribution of pirated movies in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Gwalior.

Gowariker wants Rs 50 cr in damages from UFO Moviez

Following the arrest of Chaudhary, a key player in the racket, What’s your Raashee? director-producer Ashutosh Gowariker has reportedly sought Rs 50 crore in damages from UFO Moviez. A legal notice has been sent to the firm for leaking DVDs of the yet-to-be-released film.

The police had on Tuesday arrested a group of five persons, who allegedly  bought DVDs from Chaudhary and sent them to one Asif in Pakistan.

Nagda and Shah – arrested on Wednesday – also allegedly bought original DVDs of new films from Chaudhary, who revealed their names during interrogation. “From them, we have seized original DVDs of the unreleased films Fast Forward and What’s Your Raashee? and the recently released Dil Bole Hadippa,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said.

According to Maria, Nagda has contacts in Pakistan and he sent original DVDs with Shah’s help to one Zubair. “For each DVD sold, Chaudhary got Rs 2 lakh, Nagda got Rs 35,000 and Shah got Rs 10,000,” Maria added. “We are checking if Asif and Zubair belong to the same group.”

Maria said Shah knew Chaudhary as he coordinated transport of original DVDs from UFO Moviez to overseas customers. Shah and Nagda were colleagues at Shemaroo Pictures before Shah shifted to Reliance Big Cinemas.

Meanwhile, UFO Moviez has dismissed Chaudhary from service. Top officials of the firm met senior Crime Branch officers and said they would cooperate with the investigation.

Video-meet decides DVD price

The suspects in police custody have revealed that the price of pirated DVDs is decided by video-conferencing between film suppliers and distributors. Tanzim Sayed alias Aman used to act as a mediator between suppliers like Afsar and distributors. “The DVD price and suppliers’ commission was decided according to number of copies of the movie made. Defaulters would be eliminated,” a police officer said.

Bharati Dubey & S Ahmed Ali I TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; September 24, 2009)


Mumbai: UTV software and communications, producers of the film What’s Your Raashee? has demanded a compensation of Rs 50 crore each from Adlabs Films Limited and UFO moviez for ‘abetting piracy and infringement of copyright’. Both the parties have been asked to pay up within 7 days.


The masterprint of Ashutosh Gowariker’s yet to be released What’s Your Raashee? was stolen from Adlabs on Monday evening. UTV
in its notice to Adlabs mentioned that in violation of the agreement, the masterprint of the film had been illegally copied on the Adlabs premises and sold to persons engaged in piracy, causing huge damage. The notice also alleged that the illegal activity was possible because of some highly-placed persons employed by Adlabs who gained access to the prints and made copies of it.


In its notice to UFO moviez, the producers alleged that UFO employee Rajesh Chowdhry arrested in the case has also confessed to piracy of the film Aage Se Right. “It is apparent that the entire illegal piracy racket has been able to continue unchecked on UFO premises and that their security system does not provide adequate protection,’’ the notice said. UFO has sacked Chowdhry but officials said that Aage Se Right was not released on the UFO platform.


UTV has also written to all producers and distributors’ bodies to send showcause notices to Adlabs and UFO moviez. Also, a film delegation including producer Mahesh Bhatt, senior vice-president of AMPTPP Vikas Mohan, Yash Chopra, Ratan Jain and Mukesh Bhatt will be meeting joint commissioner Rakesh Maria on Thursday.


Meanwhile, two more officials of two private companies, Neerav Shah (30), the manager of Reliance Big Pictures (overseas distributions) and Nagda Kalapi (29), the head
of the overseas distribution of Shemaroo pictures, were arrested in the case. Kalapi and Shah get a ‘benefit’ of Rs 35,000 to 50,000 per film, said senior inspector Ansar Peerzade. A video-piracy racket was busted on Sunday. Ashraf Hussain alias Afsar, Feroz Khan and Aman Tanzeem Sayyed were arrested in the case. Their interrogation helped the police arrest Durgadas Bhakta, manager, business development of Adlabs and Chowdhry.

An Adlabs spokesperson said, “The incident in connection with What’s Your Raashee is not attributable to us in any manner. The film prints are recorded under the best possible security measures.’’ A UFO spokesperson Charu Sacham said that the company has communicated separately with the producers’ fraternity and assured them that their business interests and intellectual property are of paramount importance.

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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