Pirates of Bollywood – Copyrights, Legal Thriller (Novel), Entertainment, Arjun Chronicles – Episode 12
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Authored by Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala
At precisely 9 o’clock on the dial, a woman draped in six yards of blue, pretty and young, walked to the podium and greeted the audience with a broad smile that failed to reach her anxious eyes. Twenty seconds later, her expression turned grim as if a light was switched off, while she announced the union law minister’s last minute change of plan. “Unfortunately,” she said, “our chief guest, the honorable law minister will not be able to grace the Frames with his esteemed presence due to an emergency. He had to call off his visit this morning just as he was about to board his flight to Mumbai to attend a very important meeting, convened by the Prime Minister himself. During his phone conversation with our director, the honorable minister has conveyed his heartfelt regret and apology for not being able to be here with us. However, he was kind enough to make his speech available to us, and for those of you interested, printed copies of his speech will be available at the reception by lunch time.”
“Not to worry though,” the smile was back, this time much broader, as she dramatically stated, “Our very special guests, the illustrious godfather of Bollywood, Mr. Shan, and the eminent, grand old advisor of entertainment industry, Mr. Khan, are with us. Accompanying them is our respectable director of FICCI, Mr. Tagore. In furtherance of our director’s personal request, I am happy to inform you that Mr. Shan has kindly agreed to fill in as the chief guest for the inauguration. I would like to now take this opportunity to initiate the proceedings by inviting the dignitaries to the dais.”
She went on to introduce each person, theatrically reading out their self-composed, pompous profiles, while volunteers escorted them to their designated seats. Once they settled down, comfortably, the woman got them on their feet again by announcing, “Now, it is time to light the lamp. May I request the honorable guests to light the fire of Frames?”
Everyone in the auditorium knew the convention and stood up, while the three old men lit up the shining, aesthetic brass lamp. Thus, Frames had officially begun.
Following a very brief introductory address by Tagore, it was Shan’s turn. He was invited ceremoniously by the woman in blue to deliver the chief guest’s address. He carried no paper, no presentation; it was just him and his audience. “Creativity is a virtue, and creators, virtuous,” he began. “All of humanity is happy to enjoy the fruits of creativity, but how many spare a thought for its creators, leave alone rewarding them? We Indians are at the forefront of creativity, and unfortunately, of its destruction as well. Unless we respect writers, musicians, artists, performers, directors, and all other creators, protect their rights, stand by them and nurture them, the creative essence of life that gives us joy, that unites us, and that makes life worth living, will soon perish.”
That emphatic opener provoked a loud round of applause from the audience, which took more than a minute to die down. “Reverence to copyrights, my friends, is the key,” Shan continued, “Respecting copyrights equals respecting creators. Copyrights encourage authors to create works of literature and art, and by doing so benefits mankind tremendously. By copyrighting one’s work, an author protects his interests in the work from misuse, and the least the society can do is safeguard those interests, for its own good, if not for the author’s good. But, is the society doing that? Are we truly doing what we are supposed to do to protect our authors and their work,” Shan questioned, scanning the crowd for a response, gesticulating dramatically. But the only answer Shan got was silence, an unflinching silence.
As the audience listened to Shan in rapture, Khan quietly ambled out of the auditorium, gesturing Lamba who had instantly got on his feet, to stay back. Though, as always, Shan’s speech was extremely interesting, and was laying a solid foundation for Khan’s talk to follow, he could not hold his bladder any longer. Thinking about the dose of insulin he had missed that morning, Khan first cursed his rusting memory and then his incapacitated pancreas while he headed to the rest room as quickly as his old feet and the hotel’s glazed floor could permit. On his way, he slipped ominously, but managed to get his bearing and walked on, politely declining the help offered by a passing security officer. Khan would have been extremely fortunate if he was grounded with a broken bone, because that would have averted the fate that awaited his arrival.
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Copyright, Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala.
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