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Ban on The Da Vinci Code proves a wet blanket

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SELLING LIKE HOT CAKES: Books by Dan Brown, author of `The Da Vinci Code', are the favourites this season. Photo: T. Singaravelou
SELLING LIKE HOT CAKES: Books by Dan Brown, author of `The Da Vinci Code', are the favourites this season. Photo: T. Singaravelou

Deepa H Ramakrishnan

Makes sales of pirated movie VCDs and DVDs soar

PONDICHERRY: Can you digest the news that a one day cricket match between India and Pakistan had been cancelled owing to rain? That would indeed be very hard, especially after anticipating the day for quite some time. Well, that was just how many people felt when the Pondicherry Government banned the screening of The Da Vinci Code in the Union Territory.

"I had tickets to a first day first show when I was in France, but a friend advised me to read the book first and then watch the movie. And, so I started to read the book, by the time I was halfway [into the book] I came back to Pondicherry, but the film is banned here," said a frustrated Srinath.

Many share his sentiments. "The film hasn't been banned in Karnataka, not even in Kerala, but Pondicherry chose to ban it anticipating trouble. This is just a film based on fiction," said Kumuda, a student, who too had waited for the film to be screened here. In fact, people had been betting as to which theatre would be screening the movie, but none of the theatres that show foreign films took on the movie.

Thanks to the ban, the sale of pirated DVDs and VCDs of the movie has been quite good. "We sell about 5 to 10 copies a day. The ban has only helped our business. But, some people are also waiting for better copies of the movie as the one being sold now is not very good," said a terse CD seller. People come from places such as Chennai to buy the CDs in bulk. And, The Da Vinci Code seems to be a much sought after copy. A CD is priced at Rs.30 and a DVD at Rs.35. Some scenes in the movie along with the first 15 to 20 minutes are missing from the pirated CDs.

Books selling well

The book by Dan Brown, based on which the film was made, has been selling well in Pondicherry. "People do not believe that the book was released in 2003. That was when the first edition was published. There have been several publications since, including the Corgi, Bantam Press and also a pictorial form priced at Rs.995. Though demand for the book has been consistent, sales peaked from 2005. The book has also become a kind of status symbol, so much so that almost everyone wants to own a copy. Every two weeks we run out of the book," said Michael, who runs Focus Book Shop on Mission Street.

"It is a good thriller, the author manages to walk the thin line between fiction and truth to intellectually stimulate the readers," said a book lover.

Along with The Da Vinci Code, other books related to the subject including the Da Vinci Code Truth or Fiction and Secrets of the Code, and other books by Dan Brown, including Angels & Demons, are being much sought after nowadays.

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