Reacting swiftly to the blatant piracy of the movie BOOM, its makers have swung into action with the help of the Police and anti-piracy squads and agencies, launching a series of raids across the country.
There are reports of red-alerts and raids across Hyderabad, Surat and Mumbai with reports trickling in from several other cities too. Kaizad Gustad personally supervised the raids in Surat. The Commissioner of Police in Surat, Mr. Vinit Gupta, co-operated with Kaizad to the hilt helping him out with Police back-up to tackle the menace.
According to the most recent reports, some locations in Bombay, like Behram Baug in Jogeshwari (a suburb in North Bombay), have also been raided, with Police and anti-piracy squads specifically searching for BOOM CDs.
There were reports earlier that BOOM had been illegally telecast from the pirated CD on cable in some localities in Hyderabad.
Producer Ayesha Shroff has gone on record saying that the pirated CDs in question are not of the actual movie but just some "rushes" from the "working copy" that was used in editing for the English version of the movie. There are suspicions that the stealing and subsequent piracy was an inside job.
"The entire operation is straight out of a thriller movie," quipped the film's director Kaizad Gustad (of BOMBAY BOYS fame), speaking exclusively to IndiaFM at 12 midnight local time. He added that he "received reports on Tuesday at 2 pm that portions of BOOM were being screened in Surat in private video parlors. At 2:45 pm, Kaizad and his support crew of 10 men caught a train to Surat. Right across the journey, they were receiving updates to the locations of the video parlors. Straight from the station, the team rushed into the various parts of the city to do a recon so as to be able to hit the pirates with a surgical strike.
"These video parlors are located across the length and breadth of the city, and at the last count, Surat has about 500 of them," the director informed from Surat. To call them video parlors is a misnomer according to Kaizad as "they are full-fledged 200-seat AC theatres with plush push-back seats." Some of them had digital broadcasting systems. They were actually illegal cinema halls.
Such halls and parlors were controlled by the underworld in Surat, claimed Kaizad, who, along with his team, spent the whole of Tuesday going to all of these halls and recording the evidence on video so as to be able to have enough ammunition to stand up in the court of law.
In many places, the distribution system was digital with movies copied on a hard disk with users from cyber-cafes and related networks being able to view movies of their choice on demand, at a rate of Rs.15 per show.After doing their homework, Wednesday was the D-Day. With Senior Inspector J.K.Jhalia leading the Police teams, simultaneous raids were carried out across the city. In a matter of hours, a smash-up of the syndicate was complete. Overall, 30 locations were raided and about 14 parlor owners were arrested. Projectors, CDs and posters have been seized along with equipment used to duplicate the CDs. The entire national press was tipped off and satellite TV was in full force covering the raids. There is a full-fledged joint press conference with the Police tomorrow in Surat where the seized material will be on display. The entire operation was carried out under Section 64 of the Indian Copyright Act, which is a non-bailable offence.
Kaizad, speaking to the Press after the raids, warned the pirates that this fight-back would continue across the country in the days to come. He openly warned all those who were involved in this illegal operation that the full might of law would be used against them.
Kaizad went on to reveal that the CDs seized included movies like Zameen, Parwana (films yet to be released), Gangajal, Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost, Calcutta Mail and Rules to name a few. He added that the menace of piracy can only be tackled by a movement and has appealed to the people and the entire film industry for support in his mission.
Kudos to Ayesha, Gustad and their team for responding rapidly and having the courage to tackle the hydra-headed monster of piracy head on. The whole industry is admiring the guts of this lady fighting the fight of her life to protect what she believes is her rightful due. And kudos to Kaizad, who is himself leading the battle from the frontlines.
This episode is also a wake up call to the industry. Only strict deterrents and severe penalties, including financial, will be able to control this menace.
Here's wishing Ayesha, Gustad and the crew of BOOM good luck in their mission.
Ayesha Shroff appeared on NDTV 24x7 to announce the same. Check out the video (Footage Courtesy : NDTV 24x7)
(Special thanks to 'Boom' publicist Dale Bhagwagar for providing us with valuable inputs for this Stop Press news.)
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