Kamal Haasan is not going back on his decision to release his new film Vishwaroopam on the DTH platform.
On Sunday, the actor-filmmaker defended his move to introduce the film in pay-per-view mode on direct-to-home (DTH) networks on the day of its theatrical release. He said, the move needed understanding rather than spot judgements and associated anxieties.
In an audiocast on social network SoundCloud, the actor said the digital screener should be seen as opening new vistas for legitimate revenues for cinema at a time when video piracy was wrecking the industry. The screener would be a one-time affair priced at Rs. 1,000.
“This is targeted at a niche segment that wants to be entertained in the comfort of their homes. It is purely for the excitement of watching it on the first day. The cinema hall experience is still something else,” he said.
The national award-winning actor also allayed fears about the technology. “The encoded movie content will not be stored in DTH set-top boxes once viewed,” he said.
The decision to release the movie on DTH has set the industry abuzz over the past week. Though the move has received largely positive responses from online forums, there have been talks that producers and exhibitors have been unhappy.
The Tamil Film Producers Association has called for an urgent meeting in Chennai on Monday to discuss and debate Mr. Haasan’s decision.
In his statement, the actor indicated he was unlikely to budge. “We are talking about catering to a niche segment. The majority is still going to enjoy the movie in cinema halls. We have recorded the sound in world-class technology (auro sound). That was done to get people to cinema halls. Running scared of DTH is like the majority of 99 per cent getting scared of the 1 per cent,” he said.
He also said, for good cinema to thrive, filmmakers must be allowed to explore all legitimate avenues for legally generating revenues. Saying no to the move would be paving further way for video pirates to thrive.
The update on SoundCloud was put up by the actor’s e-zine Maiam on his official Facebook page on Sunday evening. It went viral within minutes of uploading, garnering more than 5,000 views in less than two hours.