Not for the first time in recent memory, a big budget Tamil film crew has turned to the police to complain about piracy of their content even before the official release.

The producer and the director of actor Vijay’s next big budget film ‘Thalaivaa’ filed a complaint with the Chennai City Police Commissioner on Tuesday over a three-minute portion of a yet-to-be-released song of the movie being leaked online and going viral over the past month.

The audio of the movie was scheduled for official release later this month. The song “Vaanganna Vannakkamganna” crooned by actors Vijay and Santhanam, and set to tune by music director G.V. Prakash, was pitched as a highlight.

Sunil Raj, who is producing the movie on behalf of Sri Mishri Productions, in a telephonic interview with The Hindu, said the crew were stunned that the three-minute “rough cut” (a pre-shooting version that might still undergo some changes in post-production) of the song was leaked online on May 1.

The film’s director, also named Vijay, said he was stunned by the development as it potentially spoiled the “big surprise” he had planned for the actor’s fans.

When asked whether the leak came from within, the director said: “Of course, it can only be leaked by one of the crew members. But we are shocked. Why should some insider do this to us? Perhaps, for money, as this is a big budget business and a lot is at stake.”

The film’s director said he took the help of a private anti-piracy agency and kept a very close watch on all the sites where the ‘source file’ was cropping up. He said they finally zeroed in on one individual, a college student, who forwarded the audio file on April 27 to nearly 50 persons. The song started appearing on social networks and other sites from May 1.

“We want to ensure that the culprit is brought to justice not just for our sake but for the sake of entire industry,” the director said. “This has been happening regularly in the industry.”

Industry experts say audio rights for a big-budget film constitute a big part of the movie’s total revenue, often running into a few crores of rupees. The Tamil film industry has seen such leaks in the past too. Last year’s smash hit “Why this Kolaveri” from the movie ‘3’ was released on YouTube by its producers after it had leaked online before its official release date. However, this worked to the benefit of the movie as it became an international rage.

Superstar Rajnikanth’s ‘Sivaji’ (2007), too, suffered such setbacks in the form of pre-release audio leaks.

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