Full version of 'Johnny' surfaces on YouTube

First time entire Bollywood film leaked before release

NEW DELHI -- An entire Bollywood film “Tera Kya Hoga Johnny” ("What's Going To Happen To You Johnny") surfaced on YouTube Tuesday -- the first time an entire film has been so leaked -- putting the spotlight on online piracy. 

Directed by Sudhir Mishra, “Johnny” is slated for an April release, although an initial cut of the film has participated in some international festivals.

Budgeted at about $2.6 million and produced by Mumbai-based banner Medient Corp, the final print of the film is still in post-production. “Johnny” revolves around a young boy who sells tea on Mumbai’s streets and stars upcoming actor Neil Nitin Mukesh and actress Soha Ali Khan.

“Johnny” was uploaded on YouTube in 11 parts but as of Wednesday most of the clips were removed. At press time, YouTube's parent Google India did not offer any comment.

In May 2008 a localized version of YouTube was launched here (youtube.co.in) that also features content via partnerships with leading Bollywood companies such as Eros Entertainment and Rajshri Films and broadcasters New Delhi Television, Zoom TV and India TV.

Medient said it had filed a complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell of Mumbai police and also approached YouTube to remove the clips while filing an additional complaint with the police to investigate the studios from where the print might have leaked.

“This is a disaster, there’s no denying that,” Mishra said. “But this is not the final cut and I request all netizens of this country to please not watch what has been put online.”

A 2008 study by Ernst and Young estimated that India’s entertainment industry lost about $4 billion to piracy and counterfeiting.
The “Johnny” piracy case comes on the heels of another online leak, when the much-awaited “Paa” starring Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan was available online on the day of the film's release in December.

“This is one of the curses of latest technology. We asked YouTube to remove 'Paa' but nothing was done. Sadly there is no way we can stop it,” Amitabh Bachchan told a wire service Tuesday.

Bollywood has been grappling with piracy, allegedly caused by insiders leaking films from production facilities. In September, Mumbai police arrested six executives from leading facilities and distribution companies in connection with a plot to pirate a major release "What's My Rashee?" produced by leading banner UTV Motion Pictures. The arrested executives worked in digital mastering and cinema chain UFO Moviez, Reliance Big Cinemas and its film processing affiliaite Reliance MediaWorks and video distributor Shemaroo Entertainment. UTV also filed a notice against Reliance MediaWorks and UFO seeking damages worth $11 million from each company.

The “Johnny” online leak again leads to suspicion on industry insiders fueling piracy.

Meanwhile Medient said it will go ahead as planned with the film's release as the leaked version is an older cut, with the final version still in post.