Unassuming these days are for Malayalam cinema. The movie industry which is already reeling under severe financial loss has shown symptoms of recovery with the huge hit of ‘Premam’, a romantic film, recently. The theatres were packed and huge lines of spectators were seen once again in the theatres across the state. A rare spectacle these days in the industry. With tickets going unavailable, and the movie houses turning houseful, incidents of large-scale violence were reported from across the state. With the frenzy around the movie intensified, the Kerala Police had even initiated a special mission to stop the school kids from bunking their classes to watch the movie.
With the movie putting up a good show in the state, the pirated version of it circulating online and in the domestic markets have given a dent in the revenue. It is estimated that the producer had lost to around Rs 10 crore in two weeks due to this. Moreover, the decision of Anwar Rasheed, producer of the film, to quit the film associations brought forth once against the serious topic of piracy in the state. Rasheed’s decision had come after he received a lukewarm response from several of these associations and from the authorities over the piracy issue concerning ‘Premam’.
Rasheed was one of top directors of Malayalam cinema. His films like ‘Rajamanikyam’, ‘Annan Thampi’ and ‘Ustad Hotel’. He had recently turned to production with the movie ‘Bangalore Days‘, and ‘Premam‘ is his second home production.
Soon after the censor-marked version of the movie was leaked online, Mr Rasheed had approached various film associations like Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA), Kerala Film Producers Association and Film Exhibitors Association with the complaint to take necessary action against this. According to him, none of them had initiated any step to deal the issue seriously.
He in an interview given to a Malayalam online portal said that there is no point in continuing with the associations that are not helping the producers and directors of the industry. He also revealed that that he would direct and produce films without the membership of the organizations.
Meanwhile, B Unnikrishnan, General Secretary of FEFKA, said that the response from Mr Rasheed is an emotionally charged one and it is not true that the association had not done anything in the issue. “I called up Anwar soon after the pirated copy of the movie came online. I have asked him of any help needed and called up DGP Senkumar in person to discuss the topic. Even, I visited Home Minister on the same day and he called up Anwar and assured him of necessary actions”, wrote Unnikrishnan in his Facebook.
G Sureskumar, President, Producer’s Association, said that they too had intervened in the issue and done the needful to initiate actions from the part of the authority. He also said that his association would stand with him to deal the problem. Kumar also said that he is not aware of the resignation of Mr Anwar as he is yet to receive one from the producer.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Piracy cell arrested eight CD shop owners from Malappuram and seized a large cache of pirated movie CDs from them. Rajpal Meena, Superintendent, Anti-Piracy Cell said that ten persons, suspected to be behind the uploading of the movie on the internet were under surveillance and police have spotted many others who is believed to have involved in the spreading of the movie. More arrests would be made in the coming days, he said.
For the last a decade, the Malayalam industry has been under the threat of piracy mafia. With the efforts are being made from the part of the police to put a stop to it, newer methods are devised by the pirates to leak out the movies. The recent incident of the movie being leaked out from one of the studios where the movie was done its post-production works has thrown serious doubts on to the people working in the industry. The honesty and integrity of the technicians working in the industry come under severe fire with the incident.