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Pirates of Bollywood – Piracy plan, Strategy, Copyrights, Legal Thriller (Novel) – Episode 19

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Episode 19


Authored by Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala


“Small things big, big things small,” Lamba recalled his mentor’s advice as he commenced his presentation. Khan drilled it into his head that taking the audience by surprise was the key to a successful business pitch in the entertainment sector. To achieve this effect, Khan advocated a simple strategy. “Make small things look world shattering, and complicated things look simple.” That day, Lamba decided to test his mentor’s advice, in an attempt to convince office bearers of the Producers’ Guild, who rarely came to a consensus on any business proposal. To his advantage, though the producers disagreed on most things, piracy was not one of them, and they always battled piracy together. By virtue of this, Lamba’s primary goal of the presentation was to persuade them on the feasibility and the business benefits of his plan, rather than on the need to fight piracy.

“Gentlemen,” Lamba said, “Many management experts and lawyers have tried various strategies to find a solution to the detrimental problem of piracy, but failed miserably. We at Krish and Khan, hold the legacy to succeed where others could not, and I am glad to present our unique solution.” Pausing at this point, Lamba made eye contact with the luminaries and switched to the next slide. Dramatic, though his actions were, he managed to get attention of every one at the table. Kodi Vadivelu, a south Indian film producer, who made it big in Bollywood, put his glass aside and spoke for the first time in the meeting. “Mr. Lamba, please proceed to the plan. We have no time to waste.” Everyone nodded in agreement and looked at Lamba in anticipation. Engrossed in Lamba’s theatrics, no one noticed Saheb Zakir switch the voice recorder of his mobile phone on.

A very successful producer of action films, Zakir, arguably held the most sought-after movie catalogue in Bollywood. Though his catalogue had only 30 entries, owing to his high budgets, which set the records for production expenses in the industry, Zakir always worked with the top artistes, and that ensured good connections in the industry. The two, indifferent independent film producers at the table, Dharma Kapoor and Harvinder Singh re-filled their whisky glasses for the fourth time as Lamba started on his plan. They made movies and sold all rights to large production houses for profitable margins. As they gave away copyrights in their movies, the topic of the presentation was the least of their concerns. Piracy was their buyer’s headache, and it did not bother them. They were here, only to have a drink and enjoy the rainy afternoon.

“Our proposed piracy plan, Project Pi, is a three-year program that involves a three-pronged strategy,” Lamba started to explain.

“Prong 1:  Attack where it hurts

Our strategy is to have an explosive start. We attempt something no one tried earlier, and through that create a big bang in the heart of piracy. The idea is to hurt pirates, where it hurts the most. We start by attacking hubs and factories of pirates using the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Anti Terrorist Squads (ATS) as our agents.”

“Are you out of your mind Lamba? Do you even know how CBI and ATS operate? Don’t take us for fools,” Aran literally shouted. Nodding vigorously, the others agreed with his emotion, all talking at a time, a few expletives here and there. Even Kapoor and Singh put their glasses away for the first time that day, and gave Lamba a hard stare.

Having provoked the planned response, Lamba turned radiant. “I agree gentlemen, it is by no means an easy task. But as you all know, Krish and Khan is reputed for its miracles. We come in, where others have given up. Our team has devised a fool proof plan to engineer this and I’ll need your unflinching support. The links and connections between film piracy, organized crime, and terrorism is well known, and has been the subject of discussion in enforcement circles for some time now. We will use the piracy-terrorism linkage to involve CBI and ATS. The latest update from our liaison team is that a top official of ATS is with us and would be happy to co-operate if we take care of his not so expensive needs.”

“Oh. That is interesting. What do we achieve with this? And most importantly, how much would it cost us?” Vadivelu asked, opening his notepad. Vadivelu, the fund raiser of the guild, was a man of numbers and most of his decisions revolved around cost/profit analysis.

“Through this step, we will achieve two important things. One, we will strike at the heart of piracy, the places where pirated content is created. And two, by involving CBI and ATS, we send a message about the magnitude of their offence, creating fear in the minds of pirates, we hope to cut their sources off. In terms of finances, it should not cost us more than a few hundred crores,” Lamba replied, in a matter-of-fact tone.

“What! Couple of hundred Crores!” Vadivelu grunted. Though all of them were big budget movie producers, the number shocked them and Lamba was the subject of their undivided wrath. With a mix of incredulity, anger and shock, all of them looked at their president, Shan, for help.

“Let us hear what he has to say. Remember, he is only proposing a plan. It is up to us to take it forward or leave it,” Shan said, diffusing the emotions, and waving at Lamba to proceed.

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Copyright, Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala.

May be distributed with prior permission of the author.

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