In a show of unity, the big names of the Tamil film fraternity, including Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, got together at the Four Frames preview theatre here, to express solidarity with the makers of Jaggubhai, a Sarath Kumar movie that was uploaded to the internet even before the process of film making was complete.
“It’s murder,” said the Rs.15 crore movie’s director K.S. Ravikumar. “Our efforts of more than a year have been wasted.” he added.
Jaggubhai, which originally was to have featured Superstar Rajinikanth, is set to release this Pongal. Rajinikanth, who spoke on the occasion, assured the Jaggubhai team that people would come to the cinemas to watch the move. “Do not worry. Treat this as publicity for the movie. Even if you spend Rs.10 crore, you will not be able to get this kind of publicity,” he said.
The uploaded version, which has no background music, has quickly been converted to CDs and has been freely available on the streets of some neighbouring States. According to those associated with the film, even the re-recording and trimming of the movie was not complete.
“We need to think about what we can do [to prevent such events from happening],” said Kamal Haasan. “We have to realise that people will buy a DVD or CD if it is available in every road junction. We have to make them realise that when they buy such a DVD or CD, the money they give for such a purchase becomes black money,” he added.
After Sarath Kumar’s wife and actor Radhika complained to Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi, and following the crackdown Mr.Karunanidhi ordered, the CDs have become hard to get in the grey market in Tamil Nadu. “We have managed to control it here [in Tamil Nadu]. But internet server hubs exist across the world. We cannot stop them. We can only make a request,” Mr.Ravikumar said.
Most film makers, producers, and actors who spoke, including Suriya, Cheran, A.R.Murugadoss and V.C. Kuganathan, stressed the need for consultations leading to measures to protect the industry. Otherwise, everyone would be out of a job soon. “You might think that Rajini knows a bus conductor’s job. But can I go back to being a conductor,” Rajinikanth asked.
Behind closed doors, various associations of filmdom have begun consultations on what needs to be done to curb piracy and protect the film industry.