THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a first in the state, the Anti-Piracy Cell of the police has launched a probe into cases pertaining to piracy of pre-censor copies of a film hitting the grey market barely a week into its release.
Anwar Rasheed, producer of the Malayalam film Premam, has complained that the clips circulated in social media sites and WhatsApp messenger bore the watermark ‘censor copy’, which indicates that the print was leaked out from one of the three centres which had access to the pre-censor copies.The Nivin Pauly-starrer is running full house in all theatres since its release in May-end. “The pre-censor copy was edited at two private editing studios in Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai before being submitted to the Censor Board. I suspect a high-level conspiracy behind the leakage,” he said.
Anti-Piracy Cell DySP S Rafeek said the organisations or individuals who had access to the pre-censor cop ies would be quizzed. “We have already identified some online and DVD piracy hubs suspected to be involved in the case. Strict action will be taken against them,” he said.Kerala Film Producers Association executive member B Rakesh said the leakage of pre-censor copies was a serious issue which pose a threat to the very existence of the industry. “Earlier, the teaser of a film was leaked out by the trainee staff of a private editing studio. The studios and the Censor Board should take necessary precautions to avoid such incidents in future,” he said.Anwar Rasheed said that a Bengaluru-based racket is involved in the making of pirated DVDs of Malayalam movies. “I suspect this racket has access to copies given for circulation in foreign countries. DVDs of movies, including Premam, are available in the grey market,” he said. “The illegal influx of pirated copies of Premam has caused loss worth crores of rupees. I fear it would affect the revenue in B-class releasing centres,” he said.