On one end of Anna Salai stands one of the most popular film theatres in the town. The hall screens Tamil movie ‘Moodar Koodam,’ which was released about 10 days ago. Tickets are being sold at Rs. 80.
Right opposite the hall are a row of brightly-lit shops where a DVD of the same movie is being sold for Rs. 25. “This is a ‘Net print’ [ripped fro the Internet]. So, the quality is somewhat good. Wait for another week or so, and you can get the best quality print,” assures a vendor.
Pirated CDs and DVDs in Puducherry are not relegated to dingy stores which use other businesses as a cover. There are scores of shops here that make no bones about selling pirated discs of latest English, Tamil, Hindi and Telugu movies.
Mention pudhu padam and shopkeepers point to a slim plastic folder on the table. Filed inside are printed CD covers of every Tamil movie released in the last two months. When a customer chooses a film, the shopkeeper delves into a rack for a DVD which has the name of the movie written using a marker.
Do these CDs and DVDs come from Chennai, Kollywood’s capital?
“Movies are made in Chennai,” chuckles a shopkeeper. “Pirated prints are made here and sent to other places, including Chennai,” he says. “Puducherry is the kingdom of video pirates,” he tells you.
Shopkeepers here are confident of the quality of the DVDs they sell.
Vendors sell discs at a fixed rate. All DVDs and CDs have been costing an additional Rs. 5 since September 10. This information is found on little placards hung in every store. “The discs are made in Delhi and manufacturers have hiked the price,” explains one of the vendors. The hike might push up prices of pirated movies across States, he feels.
With no measures in check, there are more than one ways here to watch a new film without making it to a movie hall.