Bollywood Hungama has been consistently reporting about the release schedule of Dev Patel’s acclaimed film Monkey Man in India. Initially scheduled for a release on April 19, it was pushed due to delay in getting a clearance from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Meanwhile, reports came in that Monkey Man has been banned in the country. Bollywood Hungama debunked this rumour last week and added that the CBFC members are yet to see the film.

Exhibitors FUME as prominent critic and scores of influencers watch Monkey Man on pirated copies and spread the word about it: “These are PARASITES that need to be amputated”

Exhibitors FUME as prominent critic and scores of influencers watch Monkey Man on pirated copies and spread the word about it: “These are PARASITES that need to be amputated”

Monkey Man had a release in most markets on April 5 and earlier this week, it was made available on Amazon Prime Video in international markets on rent. As expected, high quality, pirated prints flooded the internet following the rental release. As per reports, Warner Bros and Universal Pictures, the local distributors of the film, tried their best to pull down links. X, formerly, Twitter, even sent copyright violation notices to those who shared the Google Drive link of the film.

But the damage is down. Monkey Man is freely available on illegal film websites and on the app Telegram. However, what has shocked the industry and exhibitors is that a prominent critic reviewed the film on a popular website. The critic also tweeted that he saw the film neither in cinemas or streaming but at a ‘secret third place’. A few websites have collated tweets of people who saw the film on pirated websites. Some prominent people on X with massive following have also recommended Monkey Man big time, adding that it has zero chance of releasing in India and hence, one must watch it ‘you know where’.

A source from the exhibition sector told Bollywood Hungama, “It is clear that these people didn’t fly down to Dubai or Bangkok to catch Monkey Man. They saw it illegally. There’s a lot of curiosity surrounding the film in India, especially with reports that it is very controversial. People want to know that ‘aisa kya hai film mein?’. It’s a case of forbidden fruit.”

A duty manager sighed, “People fear that it’ll never get a release in India. Hence, they have started watching it on torrent. This seemed like a film that would have pulled audience to the cinemas in the otherwise dry month of May. Now, we have lost hope. What’s saddening is apne log supporting piracy openly.”

Another exhibitor, meanwhile, also put the blame on the studio, “Firstly, they announced April 19 as the release date when it released worldwide on April 5. On top of that, they knew that the film has controversial content. They should have got the censor done in advance. I am sure they also knew that in three weeks, Monkey Man will be out on PVOD, from where pirated links will emerge. Hence, it’s a case of bad planning and we are going to suffer because there’s hardly anything exciting to play in cinemas. I doubt Monkey Man will now get the kind of footfalls it might have possibly got in April.”

When asked if it is fair on the part of critics and prominent industry members to watch Monkey Man and recommend it to their followers, film exhibitor and distributor Akshaye Rathi minced no words, “I don’t know whether it is fair or unfair. But what I do know is that as per the Indian laws, it is a criminal offence. If the film has been consumed through a pirated platform, then the authorities and law enforcement agencies need to take a note of it. Whatever are the charges and the penalties applicable for the consumption of piracy, need to be levied on them. We are in an industry where crores of rupees and jobs are lost due to piracy. And if people who are in the entertainment or media ecosystem are going to consume films on piracy and propagate it, then pardon my language, but these are parasites that need to be amputated.”

Meanwhile, as per sources, Monkey Man’s censor process is still on and hence, it’s still not clear when the film will release in India. An industry insider chose to be optimistic, “I haven’t seen the film but from what I heard, Monkey Man is meant for the big screen. So, people might still come in big numbers to catch the film.”

Also Read: Dev Patel’s directorial debut Monkey Man leaks online; Makers take down pirated links within 24 hours

More Pages: Monkey Man Box Office Collection


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