Baahubali: The Conclusion, which crushed several box office records, has hit a roadblock of sorts, albeit a minor one. Within days of release, the film has been leaked online. Producers and exhibitors believe that it won't be hit too hard since the film is all about the big screen experience
Niharika Lal (BOMBAY TIMES; May 7, 2017)

Just when the officials from the I&B ministry were planning to make Baahubali series the Make In India mascot to promote Indian cinema abroad, the pirate bay was busy doing what it does best. The film was leaked online just a day after I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu called it a shining example of Make In India.

The very next day, the 'example', it seems, was available online for everyone to watch. People took to social media and posted the link to the film and those who really wanted to know the answer to “Katappa ne Baahubali ko kyun maara?“ relished the pirated version.

A viewer in Kuwait allegedly streamed the movie live on Facebook for nearly an hour before it was released. Before this, an unedited battle scene was also leaked online. The producer of the series, Shobu Yarlagadda, in an attempt to clear the air, tweeted, “Except for screening to various censor boards in different countries, there have been no screenings of @BaahubaliMovie2 till now anywhere.“ We spoke to exhibitors for their take on this.

The film is celebrating a record run at the box office and the exhibitors say that the pirated version might not affect the box office since it is dubbed and not in HD. Yogesh Raizada, the corporate head of a cinema chain, says, “It's indeed sad when a film like Baahubali is leaked online. When production houses with such huge budgets are not able to stop their films from being leaked, how can small budget films be saved? The silver lining here is that it is not an HD version, so it will not deter people from coming to cinema halls. At least we hope so.“

Tinku Singh, the group president and chief strategy officer of another cinema chain, believes, “Leaks don't shock anymore. All the big-budget films including Udta Punjab, Dangal, and Sultan were leaked online. Although Baahubali: The Conclusion has done well, the business will be affected in single screens.“

So far, no one knows when action will be initiated against the pirates. Exhibitors maintain that unless the I&B ministry for mulates stern guidelines to curb piracy with the help of the police, incidents like this will continue to plague the industry. Leaked prints of films will find their way online either before or right after release, while the culprits will go free.

Prasad Devineni, one of the producers of Baahubali: The Conclusion, says that there are various versions of the film, which have been released, the original print, however, hasn't found its way online. He says, “The various versions that you see online are camera prints and screen grabs. The full version has not been leaked. We have close to 100 people in Andhra Pradesh working constantly on pulling down any such prints of the film as and when they appear online. We have taken another step by creating and streaming dummy torrents that confuse downloaders. We are also working closely with the anti-piracy cell which is a part of our film chamber, as well as the Cyber Crime Cell in Andhra Pradesh. They are doing everything to ensure that the leak is controlled. The investigation on source of the online leak is currently on. It is extremely difficult to take legal action against those responsible for these leaks. The servers where they originate are in another country. By the time our government initiates action, the damage will be done. We are doing the next best thing - damage control.“