Kamal Haasan fans monitor torrent downloads and report illegal links
BANGALORE, INDIA: Die-hard fans of Indian actor Kamal Haasan are fighting a tough battle in the cyberspace, in the wake of pirated videos of his latest anti-terrorism flick, Vishwaroopam (Vishwaroop in Hindi), released online.
Online piracy is just the latest stumbling block for the Rs. 95-crore magnum opus, after a spate of controversies and issues that started off with the versatile actor's novel concept of a Direct-To-Home (DTH) release preceding the theatrical one.
Apparently, prints of the full-length feature was made available on several torrent websites, including a better-known Tamil DVD/cam rip portal, before Haasan's fans, well-wishers and a dedicated team he has employed to curb online piracy took notice and started keeping a close watch to shoot down such attempts.
It is reported that a consultancy firm by name Copyrights Media is helping Haasan's Raajkamal Films to monitor constantly and bring down pirated video content of the movie. Also, it is said to have filed a complaint regarding the same with the Chennai police commissioner, in particular about 85 links that were thrown up on Google search, which were eventually taken down.
Vishwaroopam team has also filed a complaint with the Cyber Crime division of the Chennai Metropolitan Police. But it looks that more than anything else, it's the legion of the actor's fans that has taken it upon itself to fight against online piracy and is monitoring 24x7 whether any new links are popping up on the Web, more so on YouTube.
In order to express their support during these tough times, most of them have been circulating messages on the film's Censor Certificate, which is puportedly authorized by a Muslim gentleman as well, besides Haasan's earlier message to fans on the ban and Superstar Rajnikanth's two-page letter (Page 2 of the letter here) backing his fellow co-star in several movies.
They have even changed their profile images to a poster with a prominent 'I support Kamal Haasan' message, in a vow not just to fight against piracy, but also to watch the movie only in movie halls.
At this point, it is surmised that the illegal prints might have made their way to the Web from either Malaysia, Andhra Pradesh or Kerala, the centres which had the official release last Friday. Bowing to pressure from various quarters, the Muslim-majority Malaysia had taken down the film subsequently, despite its censor board clearing it for public viewing and audiences lapping it up well.
To cut the long story short, once distributors and theatre owners shot down the idea of a DTH release a couple of weeks ago, stating that it would hamper their revenues, Haasan had agreed to a one-week window period for it following the movie's premiere at cinemas.
The beleaguered artiste next faced opposition from a Muslim outfit that protested against certain 'objectionable' scenes in Vishwaroopam that allegedly portray their community in poor light, when most of the critics and industry personalities, who watched the film, vouched otherwise.