The name of the film, Double Barrell (DB) may have nothing to do with it, but Lijo Jose Pelliserry’s multi-starrer will have a shot at the international audience the online way even as it will release in the theatres in Kerala. It is all set to become the first ever Malayalam film to have a wide Internet release and those behind it are confident that this move will reduce the threat of piracy substancially.
“We are going to release Double Barrel online in countries like Canada, Australia, Nigeria and North America where there are so many Malayalis who are crazy about Malayalam cinema. It was the increasing piracy issues that provoked us to try this out. When a film is released in Kerala, updates will be going online and the temptation to get illegal copies will increase. People would manage to get it by hook or crook. Hence, when a film is released online in those countries, undoubtedly things will be different,” explains Shaji Nadeshan, one of the producers of the film.
The DB team has associated with a company called Stop Piracy to make it happen. “Some have been asking whether it will be released in India too online. It will not happen in the near future as we all know that going for films is the only entertainment we have in Kerala. There are only a few amusement parks and other recreational activities for us. With more theatres with advanced technologies coming up, our film watching culture is likely to remain the same,” he adds.
According to Lijo Jose Pellissery, Internet is like a second window for the filmmakers. “I am sure eventually things will change, like how a medium like television captured the minds of audience as an alternative entertainment avenue for cinema, the Internet will also evolve as a medium. Hence, I think we should really utilise its possibilities very well. This will definitely give the actors and the team maximum reach and will also satisfy the craze of film lovers,” he says.
Lijo agrees that online release will definitely reduce the chances of piracy. “Unavailability of tickets and lack of opportunities to watch the films are the main reasons for piracy. So I think when they are accessible to films via online by just paying an affordable amount, the situation will be different.”
The online release will also open another monetary route for the producers. “Distributing a film internationally is a Herculean task not only monetarily but also technologically. That is when such online platforms will help us. When the fans do not get a chance to watch a film, they tend to try out other means. If we can make this idea successful, I am sure we can reduce piracy issues a lot. And also, it will be very simple to track if anyone is trying to download and upload it illegally!” says Blaise M Crowly, CEO, Xincoz, the promoting company of reelmonk, the online movie releasing site.
However, Sukumar Thekkepat, the distributor of Bahubali in Kerala, says that watching a film online cannot be compared with the theatre experience that a film like Bahubali or Double Barrel provides. “Since it is a new idea, we will have to wait till DB is out. Only then one can say something about it. Glad that the team has come up with such a novel idea but I hope it will not end like the idea of CD release we had earlier which was done with an aim to stop piracy,” he says.