Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘millions

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.

Bharati Dubey, Somit Sen & Sanjeev Shivadekar | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; October 3, 2009)

Mumbai: It’s a Friday that Karan Johar would like to forget, irrespective of whether his new film, Wake Up Sid, creates magic at the box-office or not.

Johar’s film has several characters calling Mumbai by its former name, Bombay, and that was enough for the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena—going into a make-or-break assembly election later this month—to smell a poll issue. MNS roughnecks raised a hullabaloo and Johar was forced to pay obeisance at MNS leader Raj Thackeray’s residence during the day and mouth politically correct lines later. “I apologise if I have hurt anyone’s sentiments and have agreed to put a one-line disclaimer, stressing this, right at the start of the film,’’ he said.

But he was mistaken if he thought
his subservience would end the matter—subsequently, Congress chief minister Ashok Chavan went on to call the Johar-Thackeray meeting a “publicity stunt’’. “Raj Thackeray is not a constitutional authority,’’ he said. “Karan Johar should have come to the state government if he thought the issue was so serious.’’

This was enough for the Shiv Sena, whose ‘Marathi manoos champion’ claims have been questioned by the MNS, to enter the fray. Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut said Johar
should not merely apologise to Raj Thackeray. “If he really feels sorry about it, he should apologise to Maharashtra and the millions of Marathi manoos staying here,’’ he said.

True to type, Kirit Somaiya, former MP of the BJP, the Sena’s poll partner, too dived in for a piece of the action. Somaiya claimed it was the BJP that was instrumental in getting the city renamed from Bombay to Mumbai. “Nobody has the right to refer to it by the old name when it has already been renamed Mumbai,’’ he said.

But the MNS had clearly taken the lead on the issue. “No film producer has the right to change the name of the city from Mumbai to Bombay,’’ said Raj Thackeray. “Karan Johar is a good director, and I have no issues with him. But he should respect the sentiments of Mumbaikars. Why can’t people accept Mumbai if they can accept Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram? Karan told me it was done unintentionally and has apologised. But I am warning other producers not to repeat his mistake. I have given Karan two days to amend the error and carry a rejoinder at the start of the film.’’

Thackeray declared that he now wanted a letter from the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association, promising that the city would be referred to as Mumbai in all forthcoming films. “And if any producer dares to refer to this city as Bombay, my men will protest in typical MNS style,’’ he warned.

Johar played it straight. “I didn’t want any negative impact on our film into which so much of hard work has gone. It was also never our intention to hurt anybody’s sentiments. The film, in fact, pays homage to the city, and Mumbai is an integral part of the film,’’ he said.

But Johar clearly felt ill at ease in the midst of all the unwanted at
tention, and the chief minister’s “publicity stunt’’ salvo did little to salvage the situation. “We at Dharma Productions follow certain ethics and would never market our films like this. There are various other platforms to market films. Besides, my father always told me that if an issue arose, it should be addressed immediately—and that was exactly what I did,’’ he said in response to the criticism about his visit to Raj Thackeray’s residence.

Need for clearance upsets Bollywood
Mumbai: The film industry is severely disappointed that ‘Wake Up Sid’, cleared by the Censor Board, had to get another clearance from politicians looking for votes in the run-up to the polls. “The Cinematograph Act clearly rules there cannot be any curb over naming a city,’’ a Censor Board official said. “This is the first time that someone has objected to calling Mumbai by its former name of Bombay,’’ he said.

But film-makers feel their creative freedom is getting curbed too often because of politicians. The film industry is angry, but helpless and does not know where to go or whom to approach. Producer Mukesh Bhatt said: “The industry is the most vulnerable and gets no protection from the government. People in power need to take action against such elements.’’
Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association president T P Agarwal said: “The industry needs to take a stand on this and we will raise the issue with information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni when we meet for the Goa Film Festival on October 5.’’ —Bharati Dubey I TNN