Production Wizard Logo

Execs Arrested For Bollywood Piracy

September 25th, 2009

priyanka chopraA major operation by the piracy division of Mumbai police has led to the arrests of six top level executives at leading Bollywood distribution and duplication companies.

In the smashing of a plot to pirate upcoming movie, ‘What’s My Rashee?’, (What’s My Star Sign?), starring Bollywood beauty, Priyanka Chopra, it was discovered that the master print of the movie was stolen from Adlabs, India’s largest digital processing facility and cinema chain,  and passed to bootleggers, along with a print of, Fast Forward, another unreleased movie.  It was also found that those arrested had pirated a further 11 movies over the past six months.

Adlabs processing manager, Durgadas Bhakta was arrested along with, Rajesh Chowdhry of UFO Moviez, Neeray Shah, overseas distribution manager for Big Cinemas, Kalapi Nagda of home video distributor, Shemaroo Entertainment and one other.

whats your rashee PoaterThe investigation and arrests were made under the, Maharashtra Prevention Of Dangerous Activities Act, recently established in Maharashtra state and which carries a penalty of one year in jail.

Ironically, Adlabs is the only lab in India which is recognised by the UK’s, Federation Against Copyright Theft, as piracy is huge in India, costing the industry up to $400m a year.

Clearly, you can’t trust anyone!


Posted in: Uncategorized

Bollywood Box Is Back

July 8th, 2009

Sly StalloneAfter being in the dumps for the last few months because of the producer’s strike and then the cricket,  Indian box admissions have rocketed, despite being the monsoon season.

Contributing to this upturn is, Kambakkht Ishq, a curious meeting of Bollywood and Hollywood in this battle of the sexes starring Ashkay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor alongside Sylvester Stallone, Denise Richards and Brandan Routh.  Panned by critics it’s become one of the top five openers across the country.

It hasn’t quite reached the starry heights of, New York, shot in the city of the same name and grossing $11.3m worldwide in its first week.  A lot for a Hindi movie and Bollywood’s biggest earner for 2009 so far.

Perhaps this could be the start of a whole new relationship.


Posted in: Uncategorized

Bollywood NYC

June 23rd, 2009

Poster for Bollywood movie New YorkWith average budgets of around $7m, you’d be surprised to hear Bollywood producers love to shoot in the most expensive location in the US, New York City.  But the city’s backdrop is what attracts producers as Indian audiences have a fascination for seeing foreign cities on screen.

This month, sees the release of the latest from one of India’s largest production companies, the $15m, New York.  Since 2006, eight mainstream Bollywood movies have been shot in New York and now there is a growing service industry tailored especially to their requirements.

New Jersey based, Bollywood Hollywood Productions, provides crews, equipment, extras and organises filming permits.  Interestingly, the district of Queens is home to over 50,000 Indians, so extras are never in short supply.

Still from Bollywood Movie, New YorkBut no Bollywood movie would be without big musical numbers with many dancers, though when in New York, the dancers have to look like they’re from New York. So step up to the plate, the New York based, Bollywood Axion Dance Company who provide Caucasian dancers, trained in many styles, including traditional Bollywood.

Most recently they were involved in providing dancers for Jaan-E-Mann, or Sweetheart, in which a spectacular dance number was staged on the streets of Manhatten.


Posted in: Uncategorized

Bollywood Shuns Oz

June 10th, 2009

The Australian film industry makes most of its money from foreign productions filling its east coat studios owned by Fox and Warners.  Its wild and varied locations are also a draw for film makers including, until now, many from India’s Bollywood.

australia_0605jpgRecent spates of racial attacks on Indian students in Sydney and Melbourne, in what’s become known as, ‘curry bashing’ and where one party-goer was stabbed with a screwdriver, have angered Bollywood producers who will now be taking their Rupees elsewhere.

Producers are shocked, though mixed, as to whether they’d still shoot in Oz although most would not, as the lack of action by the Australian government has also angered them.

One producer, Sujoy Ghosh said,  “Yup I’d shoot. And maybe carry a couple of hockey sticks to beat those racists”.


Posted in: Uncategorized

It’s Over!

June 10th, 2009

No not the SAG negotiations, but the Bollywood producer’s strike.  Much reported by us over the last two months, the strike by Bollywood bollywood-2producers, during which they refused to release their films to the cinemas until a fair deal could be struck on the spilt of revenues has been settled.  It cost the industry over three billion Rupees.

The deal agreed means a diminishing scale of revenue goes to the producer over the first four weeks of release. It’s complicated, as these things are, but on average the producer gets 50% of the takings on week one, dropping to 30% on week four.

So, once again the streets of Indian cities will be flooded with queues outside the multiplexes, brushing aside the tumbleweed of the last two months.


Posted in: Uncategorized

It’s Just Not Cricket, well it is…

May 13th, 2009

ipl1jpgIn India, cricket is big, and so are movies, but not quite as big as cricket, much to the annoyance of producers.  Every year when the Indian Premier League takes place over April and May, cinema audiences hibernate in front of their TV’s and revenue drops by up to 20%.

No blockbusters are released during this period which is thought to be bigger than the test series for Indians.

This year though, it’s a home run for cinemas, as the clash with the elections has meant the IPL has moved location to South Africa.  The time difference between the two countries means live broadcasts won’t clash with evening and late night movie screenings.

During match times though, most Indians will be , ‘not out!’


Posted in: Uncategorized

Bollywood Goes Stateside

April 22nd, 2009

delhi-6 movie posterBollywood movies have a surprisingly good market in the US such that to get audiences the newest releases ASAP, they’re now being cabled over a massive global fibre network from Hong Kong, direct to the US.  Using what’s become known as, ‘multi-metro connectivity’ the films, including the recent Delhi 6, are mastered in 2K format in Mumbai and can then be moved anywhere in the world via the digital artery.

Adilab’s, Big Cinema, chain now has 240 digital screens across the US including in New Jersey and California.

Watch out for remakes.


Posted in: Uncategorized

Shiver Me Timbers

April 8th, 2009

I see ads against piracy are trying to get people’s attention in the cinemas again as a series of new ads are trying to persuade us that buying a cinema ticket – rather than a pirate DVD, contributes to the making of Brit movies. Indeed Noel Clarke’s kindly voice over, thanks us for our offering.  Errr, not  quite true.
Wolverine poster
The money from a cinema ticket is split largely between the cinema and the distributor.  Very little gets back to the film’s producer, particularly at the level of release most Brit movies have,  there are notable exceptions of course, but even for blockbusters, it’s all relative.

In the UK, cinema audiences are big, last year there were over 164 million admissions at say, £8 – £10 a ticket, which adds-up to a lot of money.  So if some of this money did go back to Brit producers, they’d all be smoking very fat cigars, but no.  Of the UK’s top ten films for every year between 2004 and 2008, none were made by Brits.  So, close,  but…..

A couple of weeks ago, we reported on the Bollywood producers who were getting fed-up with not getting a fair deal from distributors.  Now, those producer’s have gotten even more fed-up, have gone on strike and are refusing to let any of their pics go on release until a better deal can be struck.

bollywood-by-the-bayCurrently, producers there get 40% of revenue and are holding out for an even spilt, while the cinemas want the revenue to be performance related. Now, Indian cinemas are about to enter the period of poor returns, as the cricket season begins and audiences will be staying home, so with no new product to run, the multiplexes will be forced to run older movies, attracting even fewer people to their ticket booths.  Interestingly, families in India often prefer a night-in with a DVD to an expedition to a multiplex.

Now DVD’s give a producer a much better deal, indeed some would say the cinema release, is a mere appetiser for the DVD, monetarily speaking.  DVD sales and rentals, particularly when they go global, which a lot do as they’re so cheap to make, do very well indeed for the producer, thank you very much.  And of course anything that makes money will inevitably be found on the black market.  Technology allows easy replication of DVD’s so in an attempt to cuCover for pirated Chinese DVDt the market for the pirates in China – one of world’s biggest markets, where DVD rules ok, Warners, Paramount and latterly Fox, started selling the real thing at a micro-price of $1.46 against the poor quality illegal copies at just over $1. Then something dreadful happened – broadband.

Before broadband It would take many millenniums to download an entire movie, now, less so.  And of course it’s hard to stop as there’s nothing to get hold of.  But then, there are the ISP’s, the providers of the gateway to the internet, the threshold guardians if you like, but for the moment their swords haven’t been drawn.  In France, the government is trying to introduce the ‘three-strikes’ law, whereby if you make three illegal downloads you’re internet connection is cut off.  So this is now where creative industries and governments have to turn their attention.

And in one of those cruel and strange twists of irony you’d expect in any good movie, only a couple of days ago, Fox News 411 columnist Roger Friedman was fired for reviewing the soon be released, Wolverine.  Why?  Because the movie was set for a May 1 release and his review was based on an illegal copy viewed online!  Worse, the movie was to be released by his employer, 20th Century Fox, themselves.  Typical of pirate movies, the film was apparently unfinished, still missing some CGI, and showing just green screen backgrounds.

Hugh Jackman was scarily grouchy as he echoed his character Logan’s words, “Mine got taken. That will never happen again.”



Posted in: Uncategorized

Bollywood Blackout

March 20th, 2009

With Hollywood concerned about running out of product to screen for 2010, Bollywood is set to have no new releases Mumbai multiplexin it’s multiplexes after April. This is due to an ongoing row between The United Producers Forum and exhibitors, in which producers want a 50-50 share of the box office. Discussions have reached deadlock while audiences will be reaching for the DVD shelves to get their regular dose of Bollywood action.

Go here for a great piece from the Weekly Wizard


Posted in: Uncategorized