Film directors and actors are backing versatile hero-cum-producer-cum-director Kamal Haasan’s move to release his forthcoming Rs 90 crore flick Viswaroopam on the Direct to Home (DTH) platform hours before it hits the big screen in a renewed attempt to curb video piracy.
While the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association (TNTOA) has threatened to blackout the film from the silver screen if the actor does not give up his novel concept, South Indian Film Artistes’ Association president R Sarath Kumar does not think Kamal Haasan’s decision would wean away audiences from the cinema halls.
“In fact, the move could eliminate piracy as people might not prefer to watch a movie on a bad quality pirated CD. The issue of DTH release needs elaborate discussions with all stakeholders – producers, distributors, theatre owners and DTH companies. Any new concept needs to be explained, justified and clarified to them. The doubts of theatre owners can be clarified,” he felt.
Sarath Kumar, who himself was a victim of piracy when his Rs 15 crore-budget film Jaggubhai found its way online before its release, says he would hold talks with theatre owners and others to settle the Viswaroopam controversy amicably.
Backing Kamal Haasan, director-producer Keyar says world over, video on demand is gaining popularity. “Only in Tamil Nadu theatre owners and distributors are opposing scientific innovation because of their narrow view and vested interests. Even in this case, many theatre owners are keen on releasing Viswaroopam but the TNTOA is blocking the movie,” he charges adding that usually only producers incurred losses and not theatre owners. Keyar also accuses some theatre owners of being the source of piracy.“The producer who invests several crore rupees should have the right to release their movie in whichever avenue they preferred. If Kamal Haasan’s experiment succeeds, it will become a trailer and could draw more audience to the theatres (based on feedback from DTH viewers). But if it fails, only he will incur the losses,” says actor-director R Parthiban.
However, Seenu Ramasamy, director of the acclaimed movie Neerparavai has another view. “DTH companies will only come forward to buy mega stars’ films. They will not be keen in buying small budget films,” he points out.Besides, filmmakers also feel that since Viswaroopam has been made using Auro 3D sound technology, those who watch it on DTH could well be attracted to see it a second time on the mega screen to experience the full effect of the new technology.