In our country, especially in the state of TN, for the last 5-6 decades, film stars are enjoying popularity like no other industry. The box office for the year stands at USD 230M, even though the government regulated price @ $2 or 120/-. Yet, there is a rampage support for piracy. Why is it so?
Lack of regulations: Like many other industries, Cinema is not regulated by government. The rulers always wanted to distribute awards to the stars. But never wanted to regulate it. With the quantum of money circulation, government should be filling the coffers. Instead they’re busy giving tax concessions. Movie production is risky affair. And so many people involved. still there isn’t an insurance for the failure. Along with it comes, lack of support from government to crack down piracy.
“You’re earning in crores, is my 120/- a big deal?”
Disconnect from the people: It is understandable that art, of any form, thrives on imagination.Greater-than-life characters are accepted in societies which see art form as mere entertainment. But in this region of the world, the actors are viewed as demigods. Fans are doing all the unimaginable things for their stars. This implies there should be some connect with the grass root. Even if its not in movies, these people are expected to lend their voice against the authority when a common an suffers. Unfortunately, the starts who accepts their fans serious devotion never fulfill their fan’s expectations. The stars do suffer for producing a movie. Yet, they couldn’t understand because of disconnect. And, we people doesn’t feel gilt of pirating your movies.
“You’re cheating the government, we are pirating your movie. What’s wrong in that?”
Lack of CSR: CSR – Cine-industry’s social responsibility. If you compare their earnings with the responsible spending on society not many stars shine bright.The majority of current generation is salaried and the suffer income tax. The demigods steals the news headline for not paying the tax. Tax-evaders may be small in numbers, but it spoils the entire industry. “You’re cheating government, we are pirating your movie”, an argument by the common man.
“You preach us morality and goodness. You seldom follow. You are asking us to watch in cinemas, why should we listen?”
Greatly deviating from the norms: Paparazzis for celebrities is a an occupational hazard. In the times of social networking, the celeb should use their networking options carefully. But most of stars indulge in loose-talk and end up trolled by the fans. Cultural faux pas. the last assembly election saw several stars asking people to vote. The Nadigar Sanagm election tells another story, of how good the cine stars can compete with the politicians for elections, involving violence, emotional dramas, hype and what not. In all these things the fan who paid them didn’t get a chance to opine.
“Unlike my father, I do work from my home. I can’t sit in a dungeon-like theaters, do you have infra to watch the movies from home? “
Lack of disruption: Producing a film, distributing to cinema theaters. This is the routine going on for several decades now. There hasn’t been any innovation. There arrives a change in late 1990s, with advent of cable TVs, once theater only commodities entered the living hall. It’s been 2 decades since the change, in the same period the internet revolution came and conquered everything on its way. Our industry is not ready to move out of routine. There were few instance of bold moves to break the status quo, like this or this. But it all failed. Only other industry that didn’t saw any disruption for longer period must be automobiles.
There is a movie – Gentleman. The hero steals from rich political leaders and spends for the poor and downtrodden. In the climax of the movie, the hero is shown supported by all aam aadmi.
In the same lines, Tamil rockers is doing Gentleman, by stealing from money-minded, unregulated, we-don’t-follow-what-we-preach demigods. Already, in social networks, the pirates became legends-without-face.
Then, how to curb this menace?
Online Piracy is a cancer. You can’t expect it to be cured over night. We have seen producers lashing out at the popular piracy groups Tamil rockers, the online piracy is like a Hydra, not so easy to chop its head. Even the big governments failed to shutdown the global leaders.
Form a committee representing various stake holders viz financiers, law-makers, techies and film makers. Based on the group’s suggestion, have some realistic time frame to curb this menace. The time-frame I expect will not be less than 5-10 years. A movie earning 100 crores and another bombing in the box office, both are affected by piracy. To save everyone, and to stay focused for such a long time, the industry must get itself regulated.
It would be amazing to see few of the major producers going public. Or starting their own legal-streaming sites (may be called, TamilFlix?!), carrying an affordable subscription price. Giving job opportunities to more, with social security, pension, insurance and what-not. With relaxation in red tapes, arrival of faster internet, more urban population everything that I dreamt of can be achieved. Looking forward to exciting time.