Pirates of Bollywood – Entertainment, Copyright, Legal Thriller, Underworld, Novel – Episode 11
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Authored by Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala
A year ago…
The Renaissance Hotel overlooking the Powai Lake buzzed with high profile visitors from across the world that Friday morning. All the rooms were occupied, and a series of business meetings were in progress across the conference halls, lobbies, and restaurants. The hotel staff was on its toes to cater to the whims of their celebrity guests. Though the hotel hosted many events for the entertainment industry, this one was special; not just because of it being a prime event in the field, but it was also the largest congregation in Asia. FICCI Frames, the most sought after media and entertainment conclave, the biggest forum in the country for strategic networking, the platform for burgeoning artistes, and the breeding ground for national and international business partnerships was set to start that very morning.
Organized by the entertainment division of FICCI, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Frames remained a popular destination for national and international entertainment honchos. Since its establishment in 1927 on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi, Birla and Purushottam Das, FICCI has been instrumental in influencing business law and policy making as well as promotion of various industry sectors. The contributions of FICCI’s entertainment division, like other divisions, are note worthy. Some of its notable achievements include government recognition of the film sector as an industry, tax cuts for multiplexes, lowering of entertainment tax, and promotion of business interests, among others. Piracy, one of the biggest hurdles in the growth of the entertainment industry, was the focus of FICCI Frames that year.
Universally recognized as a challenge to reckon with, piracy has been one of the few unifying factors in the industry, otherwise dominated by conflicts and differences. Though top guns in entertainment never saw eye to eye on most things, the story was different when it came to piracy. They sat at the same table, often narrated identical stories of lost profits, whined about government inaction, and agreed on the need for proactive measures to curb the evil. It was the consensus and helplessness that led them to initiate a serious dialogue on combating piracy under the aegis of FICCI Frames, at the Renaissance. Having arrived early, Lamba managed to procure a comfortable seat at the Lake View Cafe, and marveled at the clean waters reflecting the sun’s morning rays. His boss, Saleem Khan, the named partner of the firm and the indisputable management guru of the entertainment sector, was seated across. For a man in his 80s, Khan looked deceptively fit and young. His dyed, thick black hair, wrinkle-free face and cherubic demeanor, made him look at least 20 years younger. “Is the presentation ready, Lamba” Khan asked, taking a sip of his black coffee. Though he was at the helm of business affairs of entertainment, he could never manage to adapt to new technology, despite great efforts. “Yes, sir. I am all set. I have incorporated 3D animations and special effects for the benefit of audience,” Lamba replied. “Excellent. Enjoy the morning before Shan shakes our peace.”
“Sure sir,” Lamba smiled picking his cup of masala chai. Lamba was in Khan’s good books and worked closely with him in all his projects. They enjoyed the morning, blissfully unaware of the suited, well-built man with a thick black mustache, seated at the next table, keeping a close eye on them.
At exactly 8:50 AM, Ganesh Shan stepped out of his Rolls Royce Phantom, and slowly mounted the stairs towards the plush hotel lobby. For the King of Bollywood, chairman of Tunes, the largest production house in the industry and holder of more than 40 percent of Hindi film and music content, many might consider it a very modest entry. Despite the fact that Shan and Khan were good friends and were of the same age, contrary to Khan’s physical appearance, Shan was short, frail and silver haired, his features reflecting his age as well as experience. Unlike the reception party in Western suits, who were, by now, by his side, escorting him to the auditorium, Shan wore a traditional khadi kurta with his hallmark orange Nehru jacket.
Once inside the auditorium, Shan sat in the first row and reviewed his inaugural speech. The announcement on the state of the art sound system hushed most animated conversations and alerted them to the inauguration ceremony, due in five minutes. Agreeing to continue their discussions later, most groups made their way hurriedly to the 2000-seat auditorium, which filled up quickly. Khan and Lamba finished their beverages and got moving, but unlike others, they were in no hurry. Being one of the sponsors of frames, Krish and Khan had VIP seats in the first row were reserved for their representatives. Moreover, being a leading expert in the field, Khan was a keynote speaker at the inauguration and held special privileges. Once they left, the man with the thick mustache paid his bill and left the cafe. However, unlike his subjects, he did not head to the auditorium; instead, he went to the rest room, and waited.
ALL EVENTS, CHARACTERS, ENTITIES AND SEQUENCES DEPICTED IN THIS LITERARY WORK ARE FICTITIOUS. ANY RESEMBLANCE OR SIMILARITY TO ACTUAL PERSONS (LIVING OR DEAD) OR ENTITIES WHETHER EXISTING OR OTHERWISE, IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL. ANY DESCRIPTION OF PERSONS, NAMES, MARKS, WORKS OR ANY OTHER INFORMATION PORTRAYED IN THE LITERARY WORK IS MERELY INCIDENTAL UNLESS OTHERWISE EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGED.
Copyright, Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala.
May be distributed with prior permission of the author.
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- Episode 10