Telugu Actor Vijay Deverakonda spoke about piracy issues, and asked why his films were leaking online before release. His film Geetha Govindam leaked in August, NOTA in October, and most recently Taxiwala leaked online before its release on November 17.
He hadn’t brought up the issue for his earlier films, but during Taxiwala‘s pre-release event recently, he asked people to go to theatres and watch the movie whether or not it was a good one. “We’ve decided to not talk much about it (the online leak) because the more we speak about online piracy, the more people search and find the illicit links,” he said.
A few days before this, a 3 hour-40 minute rough cut of the final 2 hour-10 minute long film surfaced online. Following this, in an Indian Express interview, Vijay said a lot of effort by cast and crew goes into the making of a film, and this was a question of their careers. “If there was a leak of my movie Pelli Choopulu, there wouldn’t be Arjun Reddy and there wouldn’t be a career for me as well. Luckily, it did not happen then, and here I am today,” he said.
He then asked why this was happening only to his films, and said, “Six years back, I had no movies. There was always a tension about my career and that was such a horrible space.
Vijay was prompted to speak about this after reading Taxiwala‘s DOP, Sujith Sarang’s Facebook post. Sujith wrote on Facebook, urging people to go watch the film in a theatre instead. He posted pictures of him with a collar belt from the movie sets, and said, “This is how I worked for Taxiwala one year back when I was treated for severe cervical injury by lifting the camera which was 20 kg.”
I never like to post my personal pics and talk abt my personal stuffs on social medias. But after seeing Taxiwaala…
Three days after Vijay and others expressed their anguish about piracy, raw versions of the film were leaked in many sites online, some with an with an apology note attached below. Vijay called this insensitive, and said the people involved in Taxiwala‘s piracy are simply indifferent to their careers.
He also said that although there was anti-piracy cell, it could only do so much since the piracy sites were running from servers abroad. “Removing them permanently might not be possible. It has to be done at the government level and it will only stop completely if we stop the domains,” he said.
According to data revealed in 2017 by a tech-firm TECXIPIO which tracks piracy, Vijay’s film Arjun Reddy was the third most pirated movie that year, after Baahubali and Baahubali 2. The data also revealed that every year Rs 90,000 crore is lost by film making units in India due to piracy.
Taxiwala, starring Vijay Deverakonda, Priyanka Jawalkar and Malavika Nair released on November 17, after being delayed twice due to piracy issues. The film opened to packed screens and has earned Rs 25 crore in five days.
Meanwhile, while talking about piracy, the film makers also released this video explaining the difference between a rough cut and the final cut: