Telugu director SS Rajamouli and his producers Shobhu Yarlagadda and Karan Johar are reckoning not mere the success of ‘Baahubali: The Conclusion’ but also counting the number of threats and extortion demands now.
Just a day after the film was released and made headlines amassing Rs.122 crore, a gang of six people tried to extort money from Karana Johar and other producers demanding Rs.15 lakh or face upload of a pirated copy on the Internet. A owner of a Bihar movie theatre was the main culprit as he used the copy sent for screening on his screen.
The man representing them was one Rahul Mehta, who claimed to have owned an “anti-piracy agency”. He said the high defiction video copy will be uploaded unless the ransom amount is paid. While Mehta was arrested in Hyderabad on May 11, he revealed the names of three other accomplices – Jitender Mehta, Taufiq and Mohammad Ali – who were arrested in Delhi on May 12.
Jitender and Taufiq had pirated the “Baahubali-The Beginning” version in 2015 and were arrested by the Jabalpur police in Madhya Pradesh. This time, they had sent Mehta for the extortion. Divakar Kumar, the theatre owner in Bihar’s Begusarai district was arrested in Patna and another accomplice Monu who was instrumental in making a copy of the film is absconding.
In India, a film’s success attracts extortionists and piracy challenges and Baahubali was not the only film. In the past, Hrithik Roshan’s film success too brought the mafia to the doorsteps of his father Rakesh Roshan.
Numerous may be such instances but the film field is not bereft of black money and black deals. To make it compete with Hollywood would require less political and gang interventions and more protection in terms of financial and liquidity funding, which have been missing in Mumbai or Hyderabad.