Bollywood grows bigger internationally and so does piracy

MUMBAI: While Hindi films continue to rake in moolah at the overseas box office, the fact remains that collections have the potential to be more than what they are today. No movie today is spared from the clutches of piracy.

Moreover, it’s getting to a stage where the reader is bored, the production houses are helpless and the director indifferent with news of movies getting pirated and being available online.

The newest lot to hit online free viewing is Singh is Kinng, God Tussi Great Ho and Bachna Ae Haseeno. Today’s releases including Ram Gopal Varma’s Phoonk, Maan Gaye Mughal E Azam and Mumbai Meri Jaan certainly cannot be far long in the race.

While Singh Is Kinng has theatrically collected $1.6 million in the US and approximately $1.8 million in the UK, the fact remains that this number could have been bigger sans piracy.

A simple search gives endless possibilities of watching the movie and if nothing works out, there’s the Veohs and YouTubes on the worldwide web that are being misused to disseminate illegal content. Content sharing portals, user blogs and pirate websites apart from conventional pirated VCDs and DVDs that are available around the corner are all responsible for draining a chunk of revenues from the producer’s pocket.

Moreover, if you think that’s all that the pirates are up to, think again. The small time movie pirates not only take the job of a second cameraman to ensure quality recordings, but also slip into the role of a distributor, converter and even sales agent. And if that’s not all, pirates sit on a full fledged editing table deciding what goes into the final free content and what doesn’t. Songs, scenes and dialogues are cut at will based on their judgment. So much so for editors who bother doing their bit.

In a time where the whole world is screaming and yelling about "Bollywood" becoming bigger internationally, there’s no reason for movie pirates to not share the pie. With an international audience, it is but obvious that subtitles are needed and thus offered. And for those who wish to see regional content or world cinema are pleased as well.

Views ranging from an average of 70,000 to those over 100,000, the kind of eyeballs the film receives is equal to revenue lost. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that music of films is also available free. New film albums like Chamku, Hijack, 1920, C Kkompany have been available and have already hit a cumulative download of over 50,000, if the numbers advertised on the sites are anything to go by.

While the racket continues a lot more collective effort is required from the industry as a whole apart from some random busts, seizures and maybe a court order or two.