The huge success of 'Premam' made everyone happy, including me. But the wide distribution of pirated copies of the movie, as if there was a conspiracy, makes me dejected. A movie is the result of many people’s hard work. A movie like 'Premam' is the realisation of a group of young people’s long dream. To see that movie illegally is not only a crime but also an insult to our work.
Isn’t putting a movie made at a cost of Rs 10 crore within 10 minutes of its release on the internet equivalent to robbing Rs 10 crore ? I do see uproar over pirated CDs and some people getting arrested in news programmes. But I have never seen news of them getting punished for it.
A movie becomes complete when it is seen in a theatre. It is the projection, the big screen and the variations in sound in a theatre that makes a movie a visual experience. The screen in a theatre is a thousand times bigger than the screen of a mobile phone. Illegally downloading the visuals that should be seen on that screen and watching them without sound or continuity cannot be justified.
I am someone who always goes to watch the movies I like the first day first show. One comes to know about a movie in advance. On seeing its songs and trailer, I get the feeling that it is a movie worth watching. That is how I decide to watch the first show of the movie, and I take along as many friends I can. The experience of that first show is as enjoyable as first love.
In addition to illegally uploading the censor copy of 'Premam' on the internet, spreading it through WhatsApp has raised many doubts. It is so cruel to split the movie into parts and spread it as WhatsApp clips. It is not only the producer of the movie who has a loss because of this. The producer gets only a share of the price we pay for the ticket. When a movie succeeds, the happiest people are theatre owners. It costs lakhs of rupees to keep a theatre ready. The income that local self-government institutions get through entertainment tax on each ticket covers some basic needs like their staff’s salary. When I read the news in Manorama that Thalayolaparambu village panchayat in Kottayam district got Rs 15 lakh rupees as entertainment tax within one month of screening 'Premam', I felt proud. Yes, the income from each ticket belongs to the society too.
The situation until now was that movies in languages other than Malayalam were available in CD shops on the releasing day itself. It is more saddening because these things happen when the government has an anti-piracy cell.
I had seen policemen in uniform chasing away students who had gone to see 'Premam' in theatres as part of Operation Gurukulam. They did this because students went to see the movie instead of attending classes and without the permission of their parents. The certificate given to 'Premam' is not U/A, which requires the presence of a parent while watching a movie. I also saw social activists terming it moral hooliganism by police. Students illegally downloading a movie is a greater sin than abstaining from classes to watch a movie. Police should be able to make students and the society aware that if they are caught it is a crime that warrants big punishment.
The government and the police should be able to investigate and find out which way the censor copy got leaked. The real culprit must be caught. Smart people in start-up companies here can give technical support to the movie industry to plug loopholes. In the fight against pirated CDs, I am ready to hit the streets. It is not the problem of only 'Premam', it is about the future of movies.