It started while I was looking for a DVD of Gulaal (thankfully its available now; hope to buy it in a few days). Beginning in April, every few weeks or so I would religiously type in the necessary search phrase in google, and then realize that it wasn’t available. You-know-what prints were, not the original. This was true even a couple of days back and it simply made me angry. And I went looking out for “why.” I came across an April ’09 Anurag Kashyap interview, which has this very interesting part (and thought MB was taking its revenge)-
Brunch: Last word?
Anurag: We have one issue with each other – pirated films. I don’t watch them but I don’t have a problem with them.
Zoya: I don’t have a problem if it’s about cinema that can’t get to you. If my film is not releasing in a village in India, I would rather they watched it pirated than not at all.
Anurag: I have a bigger problem with the original DVD of Dev D because the Moser Baer logo keeps flashing on the screen throughout.
Zoya: Oh my god!
Anurag: I am going to have it in my contract that my films will not be sold to Moser Baer.
Zoya: So many people from the industry – actors, directors – have told me they watched my movie on pirated DVDs.
Anurag: Half the film industry has seen Gulaal on pirated DVDs.
Zoya: First you do this, then you are stupid enough to tell the filmmaker! They praise me and I get flashes of strangling them. I mean, why? Call us! We’ll have a screening for you.
as also this post on the sad state of affairs as far as the home video market is concerned.
Forget the p-word (Kashyap’s views on piracy are well known). The purveyors of so called originals are a nightmare. If Moserbaer fucked up with its logo and banner ads (!!!) in the Dev.D DVD, Eagle (which released, among others, Black Friday, Maqbool, Ek Ruka Hua Faisla and now Gulaal) has problems of its own, the most irritating one being the use of “bleeps.” They did it with Black Friday, and now with Gulaal*. If Shemaroo can release Omkara with all the expletives intact, why can’t Eagle! In August ’05, I got Sarkar for 400-500 bucks (this was before the price war) and had to suffer 3 minutes of unforwardable, absolutely irritating adverts from BSNL (and god knows what else) before the main film began to play. I stayed away from the movie after that episode till recently. Between discs that don’t play at all to those that are an insult to the DVD format, we have it all. As far as soundtracks are concerned, things are moving in the right direction. It would be better if companies like Saregama which are sitting on a veritable treasure trove release more “single” audio cds from the ’50s-’70s instead of 2-in-1s and those xyz singer/ composer collections.
I am not a “connoisseur” per se, they do exist, but it seems, just like everything else in India, that sub-standard is the standard in this country. For what they have been doing, with music, and cinema, and the way they are purveyed, the Indian film industry, with a few exceptions—companies and people, deserves to burn in a dadaist hell.
[* Edit: 6-Sept-09. Gulaal is not Eagle’s fault. The ‘bleeped’ out dialogue relates to Gandhi and Ambedkar. So, screw the censor board.]